Learn Something New with Brit + Co!

 

This year I’ve found myself in a gigantic creative rut that I’m constantly trying to dig myself out of. My Instagram quote series helps some, photoshoots can be creative, but sometimes the only way out is to learn something new. Just the idea of that can be overwhelming, but what if someone broke it down for you? Maybe they put together an easy online class that you can watch as many times as you need and the entire thing is affordable?

Well, that’s just what Brit + Co has done with 67 different skills, from succulent gardening to digitizing artwork and 65 things in between. New classes are being released all the time and a few are even free! 

Five of you have the chance to win two classes each, right here, right now. Maybe you want to pick up your DSLR camera and know what you’re doing or maybe you want to pass them on to your mom or an upcoming graduate. Read on to check out my favorite classes and enter the giveaway below!

 

 

Calligraphy 101
Calligraphy extraordinaire Lauren Essl covers all the need-to-know basics of pointed pen calligraphy. During the class, she’ll walk you through everything from your basic supply list to the right way to dip your pen. She’ll also take you step-by-step through basic script technique for numbers, uppercase, and lowercase letters. Not only will you walk away with beautiful hand-lettered greeting cards to share with your friends, you’ll also get alphabet templates, grids, and practice sheets.

Phone Photography Basics
Learn how to expertly shoot and edit photos while on the move! Using just your smartphone, you’ll learn how to capture beautiful photos on any occasion. With pro editing tips and a few styling tricks, you’re going to own the Instagram game. How? You’ll learn how to setup the trendy flat lay shot, find and shoot in natural light and make photos pop with in-app filters.

 

 

Intro to Adobe Photoshop
In this class, you’ll learn how to create eye-catching photos and layouts like a pro with graphic designer Teela Cunningham. Her class is an awesome confidence booster when it comes to learning the ins and outs of the Adobe Photoshop interface. You’ll walk away from the class equipped with the skills to create photos and graphics that can be used on social media, a blog or as a personalized gift.

 

 

Bounce Lettering Basics
Brittany Luiz is going to teach you a unique style of brush pen lettering called bounce lettering. It’s a technique that adds more style and character to your lettering designs. And don’t worry if your handwriting isn’t that great because lettering is more than learning how to draw letters. It’s really about learning the strokes and how to apply the right pressure to your brush pen.

 

 

Intro to DSLR Photography
This class is perfect for those who have invested in a fancy camera but haven’t learned how to use it yet. Jenna will teach you the ins and outs of your DSLR camera, from exposure settings, shooting in auto and manual, and what various lenses should be used for. Finally, she’ll walk you through setting up the best conditions for your very own photoshoot.

 

 

Digitize Artwork in Adobe Illustrator
In this course, you’ll learn how to turn quick ink illustrations into versatile digital files that you can use as fun and colorful wallpapers for your desktop and phone. You’ll leave the class with two digital wallpapers to call your own. Plus, you’ll get access to four additional designs that you can use for practice. Think of all the art prints, textiles, stationery and wallpaper you can create!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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April Favorites

 

1/ Tea Tree Oil
I’ve been using this stuff in multiples ways, including in my diffuser and on blemishes.

2/ PureAir 50
This little plug-in ionic air purifier is amazing. It cleans 350 sq. ft. of air by removing odors and reducing bacteria and viruses with activated oxygen. I have mine next to the cats’ litter box – the danger zone! – and noticed a total elimination of smell within about 15 minutes. It emits a kind of white noise sound when turned on, but I quickly got used to it.

3/ Lamb’s Ear
After years of admiration, I added one of these perennials to my porch collection. I’m hoping to keep it in a pot rather than have to plant it in the ground, but only time will tell how the plant tolerates it.

4/ Froozer Blue Aloha
These super natural treats are basically a frozen smoothie in a tube. They’re super tasty with only 35 calories and 9 carbs, which is a necessity for snacks with this type 2 diabetic.

5/ Common Goods Lavender Linen Water
I’ve been using this on my bedsheets for a few years now, I’m a real sucker for anything lavender scented as you may have noticed. This linen water is scented with 100% pure essential oil, is plant based, and biodegradable.

6/ Function of Beauty
Everyone’s been chattering about this line of shampoos and conditioners can that be personalized to your hair’s specific needs, and I’m here to report that the hype is 100% true! I love it and may never use another brand ever again. (Grab $5 off your order here.)

7/ Round Taper Planters
This spring I had to replace the large bamboo planters I’ve used for the past several years due to normal wear and tear. I wanted something simple and affordable that would complement my new black shutters and came across these fade and weather resistant ones at Target. They’re available in four colors and seven sizes! (I also have four of the 6-inch ones indoors)

8/ Vineyard Hill Naturals Cardamom & Fig Candle
You might think this scent sounds a bit heavy for spring, but it’s quite the opposite. And the soy-based candle’s jar is one I’ll definitely be reusing with that Greek key pattern.

9/ Spruce Cleaning Wipes
I’m kind of the worst at keeping my electronics clean, and these little wipes are a fun reminder (those faces!) to wipe everything down – they’re also great for your eyeglasses. Made in the USA, free of harsh chemicals like alcohol and ammonia, and vegan.

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Smoothie Bowls 12 Ways

While you’ll never convince me that a smoothie bowl is anything other than an excuse to eat your drink with a spoon, I’ll happily admit that they offer up some high quality visual appeal when done right. What’s more, if they get you to eat more fruits and vegetables than usual who am I to judge the method of transport. These beautiful concoctions have caught my eye and now I’m wondering – do you subscribe to the smoothie bowl trend? Have a favorite recipe?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on each image to go to the recipe.
All photos copyright of their respective sites unless otherwise noted.

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20 Pillows to Change Up Your Home’s Spring Vibe

There are three pieces of decor I switch up for spring and fall – bedding, rugs, and pillows. These are pieces that are easy to swap out to freshen up the feel of your home, as well as ones that don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not running out twice a year to purchase new ones, rather just bringing them out of the guest room’s closet.) I tend to stick with a lot of neutrals so the switch may not be noticeable to anyone else, but even just a change in pattern makes me happy!

 

Cersei Decorative Pillow // Forma Pillow // Frayed Shaped Pillow Cover // Fringed Diendra Pillow

 

Geo Pillow // Indro Cushion // Linework Woven Decorative Pillow // Ligne Particulier Pillow

 

Macrame Diamond Pillow Cover // Nautique Pillow // Pleated Chevron Decorative Pillow // Roped Pillow

 

Bali Throw Pillow Collection // Stitch Stripe Pillow // Texture Knot Decorative Pillow // Totem Cushion

 

Vacita Pillow // Villa Stripe Pillow // Wallace Sewell Kente Crewel Pillow Cover // Zurich Geometric Throw Pillow

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Daydreaming About A Frames

Sarah Abbott

While I’m 110% in love with my house, I also know that it’s probably not my forever home. Sometime in the next few decades I really want the experience of building from the ground up. And while my architectural taste runs the gamut, lately I find myself really drawn to a-frames and their steeply angled rooflines and modern yet cozy vibe.

 

via Design Milk

 

Dwell

 

via Hi Consumption

 

Alpine Modern

 

Sunset

 

Airbnb

 

Zillow

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Let’s Talk Pergolas

The to-do list for my home is a mile long, but near the top is the addition of a pergola. If you’re unfamiliar, a pergola is an architectural element originally used in ancient Greece and Rome to better define an outdoor space that’s gaining momentum in the current day. It usually consists of parallel colonnades that support an open roof of girders and cross rafters.

Pergolas are great privacy and shade solutions because, really, there are no rules. They can be built out of wood or steel, with a traditional or modern design or somewhere in between. Add fabric panels to the sides for additional privacy, let vining plants climb up to and cover the roof, add solar panels, or top it off with a plexiglas covering for protection from the rain. Your pergola can be freestanding in the middle of the backyard or built on top of a porch or deck, or maybe you’d just like to build one over your old concrete patio. See? Not many rules here.

I’d like mine to be similar to the second one below, but the wood painted white instead of black to keep the heat to a minimum during summer. Honeysuckle would climb all four colonnades and wind around the girders where it would mingle with strands of lights with edison bulbs. I’d have a few planter boxes on one or two of the sides that would blend in, and maybe a canvas tarp that could be attached to the four corners for shade on especially hot days.

But I haven’t put much thought into it.

 

Better Homes & Gardens

 

Helt Enkelt

 

Almost Makes Perfect

 

Homes to Love

 

Style Room

 

Better Homes & Gardens

 

Ernskie

 

Decoist

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5 Favorite Food Blogs of the Moment

Heartbeet Kitchen is a celebration of sweet and savory recipes along with some other tidbits from author Amanda’s life in Minnesota. The recipes are based around seasonal vegetables and whole grains, as well as eggs and dairy from happy animals. Many are vegetarian, and all are gluten-free with a specialty in baking with alternative flours.

Recent Favorites: Creamy Polenta Porridge with Berries and Honey, No-Bake Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Pots with Pretzel CrunchRoasted Cabbage Steaks with Garlicky Beet Sauce

 

The Vanilla Bean Blog, aka Sarah Kieffer, is a site I’ve been following for several years now. Started as a way to document her family’s food history, it’s also a space full of baking recipes, kitchen moments with friends and family, occasional musings and reflections, and some poetry and prose – in another word, connection.

Recent Favorites: Olive Oil Sugar Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze, Chocolate Chip Mini Cakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream, Blackberry Jam Buns with Creme Fraiche Frosting

 

Salt and Lavender is full of delicious from scratch recipes that are also simple to make. Fresh, real ingredients play a big role, with not nearly as much salt as the name might indicate. Author Natasha provides a healthy mix of good for you foods mixed with a few indulgences.

Recent Favorites: Tropical Chicken Nachos, 15 Minute Garlic Lime Cashew Zoodles, Thai Sweet Potato Coconut Red Curry

 

The Almond Eater is the place where self-taught cook Erin shares the wholesome recipes created in her kitchen. Each one is double-tested before she shares it on the site. (Quiet admission: we also both live in Pittsburgh and have the same two major food dislikes – mustard and pickles!)

Recent Favorites: Coffee Orange Granola, Cinnamon Tahini Pancakes, Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Salad Sandwich

 

What to Cook Today is a newer find, there are just so many talented Minnesotans out there! Marvellina shares recipes she grew up with in Indonesia that have a heavy Chinese influence as well as local flavor – think lots of boldness often sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and umami all combined into one dish! Marv also experiments with plenty of foods from other continents though, if southeast Asian flavor isn’t your cup of tea.

Recent Favorites: Mexican Cinnamon Horchata, Panko Chicken and Waffles, Pumpkin Custard Baked Buns

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Tips + Tricks: Creative Business

 

It’s been awhile since we last shared a tips + tricks column, so today I thought I’d share a little about what I’m always reading up on – running a creative business. You don’t have to be a blogger to benefit from this list of advice, honestly you don’t even have to work in a creative field. I’m forever searching for a work/life balance, trying to figure out my next step should be in this ever-evolving field, and how to make the most of the 24 given hours in each day. (And about 100 other things.) Drop any go-to advice of your own in the comments!

 

How to Negotiate Your Own Licensing Agreement

You Need a Contract, Here’s How to Make One

5 Tips for Writing a Solid Business Plan

MailChimp for Designers

Tips for a Better Work-Life Balance

How to Get Your Life Back When Freelancing Has Taken Over

10 Steps to Get Verified on Facebook – and Why You Need to

How Do You Know When It’s Time to Hire?

Your Ultimate Goal to Saying No to People You Can’t Say No to

13 Gmail Hacks That’ll Instantly Maximize Your Productivity

Photo Tips From Instagram Stars

How to Get a Reply From a Cold Email

45 Things You Can Outsource to a Virtual Assistant

6 Scientific Hacks to Keep You Focused at Work

7 Tips for Working From Home

10 Habits of Healthy and Happy Business Owners

What to Say When a Non-Profit Asks for Free Work

What to Call Yourself When You’re a Multi-Talented Freelancer

Why Every Solo-Preneur Needs a Hobby

Media Kit Checklist: 15 Must Have Items

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