Summer in Jacksonville, Oregon

visiting Jacksonville Oregon

Visiting Jacksonville Oregon

On the great Road Trip 2017, the last stop we made before California was visiting Jacksonville Oregon. It’s a small town in the Southern part of the state with cute main street with shops. I actually found Jacksonville on a suggested list of ghost towns to visit in Oregon. It’s far from a ghost town, but it is quaint and full of historical buildings. It’s definitely worth a visit!

visiting Jacksonville Oregon

Where to Eat in Jacksonville Oregon

For lunch, I chose a little cafe called The Cheesemonger’s Wife. They had a cheese plate for only $11 that came well stocked with plenty of cheeses, olives, crackers and jam. The restaurant was gluten free friendly and many of the ingredients were local. They made delightful sandwiches and coffee too.

visiting Jacksonville Oregon

What to wear when visiting Jacksonville Oregon

I found Jacksonville to be an Instagrammer’s paradise. The historical details I mentioned earlier include brick facades, antique murals painted on walls, and pretty flower gardens. So put on your best outfits, bloggers! Shop Lilly Pulitzer dresses like the one in these pics here.

visiting jacksonville oregon

Do you have a favorite small town to visit in the summer? Tell me about it in the comments! I’d love to add more destinations to my travel wishlist.

The App That Lets You Be a Paper Doll

This post is sponsored by Styled by Trendage, the app that inspired this article. 

Trying and sharing new products are one of the things I enjoy about blogging. Today I’m doing my first review on an app! Remember in the movie Clueless, Cher virtually tried on outfits using Polaroids? Well fast forward 20 years (was Clueless actually that long ago? Yikes) and we have a very similar capability available on our iPhones with the Styled app.

I like the concept behind this app for several reasons:

  1. It lets you become a virtual paper doll.
  2. It’s a free way to expand your wardrobe, even if it’s only imaginary!
  3. Potentially it could save you from buying clothes that aren’t flattering or your style, because you can get a preview of how certain colors and styles might look prior to purchasing something online.

Styled by Trendage App Review

To start the process, I uploaded my headshot. My photo then appeared on a little digital paper doll. Neat! You can also take a selfie with the app, but I had better luck using an existing photo. Next the app prompted me to choose a hairstyle and a body shape. I chose the hairstyle that made me look the most like me, but you can also have fun experimenting with what you’d look like with totally different hair.

Then your virtual self can try on clothes. The app will give you look after virtual look to “try on.” If you like a look, save it for future browsing. If you like it, you can save it. It’s something I can see teens and 20-somethings enjoying.

 

The app runs a bit slow for me at times, but I’m still on iOS9. If your phone is newer than mine (and 99% of you probably have a newer phone than me, let’s be honest. Note to self, go to Apple store ASAP) it will probably run great. And iPhone users, this app is only for you. I hope the company will expand beyond Apple to reach a greater audience in the future.

If you’re looking for a new way to virtually try on a new wardrobe, either for practical purposes or to keep yourself occupied on public transportation, Styled by Trendage is a fun addition to your iOS apps.

How to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Driving Lessons

I’m learning to drive a stick shift!

I’d tried driving stick a handful of times before, without much success. The first time was in a friend’s Honda in Minnesota, then a minivan when I was an au pair in Switzerland, then in a Mini in Italy, then again in Minnesota in a Mazda.  So I can say that I’ve been given driving lessons in three countries and still haven’t learned. But in my defense, 2/3 of those places were pretty hilly.

When I came out to California earlier this summer, I knew that I would eventually have to learn because it’s the only car available to me here. How bad could it be?

It was pretty bad.

I’ve stalled in intersections. I’ve had drivers honk at me. I’ve panicked when a Tesla pulls up right to my bumper when I’m stopped on a hill. I’ve had times when I came really close to giving up trying to learn. But with practice, it’s starting to click.

And I have to tell you, I have so much respect for people who drive stick now. So much respect. If you’ve only driven an automatic, you just have no idea how much harder other drivers are working to do things you take for granted.

I’m still intimidated by the highways here, because California drivers are intense! And as for parallel parking on Steiner Street in downtown San Francisco, yeah that level of expertise is a loooong way off. It’s hard for me to face my fears and take risks, but I’ve got to do it and drive just a little farther every day.

how to get out of your comfort zone

How to get out of your comfort zone and try something new

Here are three things that have helped me so far in my new endeavor that takes me out of my comfort zone every time I get in the driver’s seat.

A calm attitude. When I get impatient or anxious while driving stick, I’m more likely to make sudden movements like releasing the clutch too quickly and stalling.

Put pride aside. It’s okay to be a beginner. I announce it loud and proud with a bright yellow magnet on the back of the car that says “Learning to Drive a Stick Shift.” Seriously, this is the best thing I’ve done while learning to drive stick shift.

Keep going. Giving up is tempting, but most things do get easier with practice. I’m so proud of my ability to drive stick now. I feel more capable and confident having this new skill.

What’s one thing you’ve done to get out of your comfort zone and try something new?

Welcome Summer with a Gingham Headband

Gingham for Summer

You could say that gingham is the fabric of the summer. Its midcentury appeal is gracing everything from sundresses to bikinis. I found the perfect gingham headband in red and black to wear while traveling this summer. In fact, I used it to keep my hair in place while ghost town hunting! The hunt was somewhat successful since the photo above is taken in an old schoolhouse is Oregon. I have more pictures of it for a future post which I am so excited to share with you! But back to the gingham. To add to its versatility, I also used the headband as a hat ribbon to decorate an old straw hat for summer.

Get the gingham headband look

You can even get a gingham headband that to show off your college athletic team pride. Or go more traditional with this Anthropologie gingham headband. The store also carries this one by Dauphines of New York,  which is a brand I partnered with in 2015 that makes quality headbands. Excitingly, it also comes in pink. 

Best of all they’re all on sale right now.

More gingham looks to love

Here are some more gingham inspiration looks to jump start your summer. I’ve seen a lot of gingham dresses in an off-the-shoulder silhouette, another trend of the season. If you’re wondering how to wear a gingham headband, gingham pairs with florals and solid colors (especially white).

Will you be wearing gingham this summer or saving it for your picnic tablecloth?

How I gained 1000 Instagram followers in two months

How to Grow Your Instagram

I started off spring 2017 with just under a thousand followers. I honestly didn’t think fast growth was possible for me on Instagram. My other platforms, including Pinterest and Twitter, had more followers and a faster growth rate than my Instagram and I assumed it would always stay that way. I was wrong! Today, Instagram is my largest and fastest-growing platform. It was the first of all my social media to reach 2k.

how to grow your instagram account

Gain Instagram Followers

Now, numbers aren’t everything! As a smaller blogger, I’ll be the first one to say that I’m more focused on my engagement rates than my numbers, because that’s what’s important to me. But growing your accounts also means you can reach more followers who are interested in your content. You may wish to grow for the fun of it, or because you want to get brand collaborations and sponsorships that come with a higher following.

I’m also no Instagram expert. I’m an ordinary blogger with only 2k followers. I’m not here to tell you the latest secret, formula or magic trick for success on Instagram. I’m just sharing my story about how I increased my growth rate by ten times in just two months. This is what I did and what worked for me.

how to grow instagram

Here’s what I did to reach 1000 Instagram followers in two months.

The basics of Instagram growth are: make good content + follow others + engage.

Here’s a specific breakdown of things I changed to gain 1000 more followers.

I committed to posting once a day. There are still days that I end up skipping because I’m in a National Park or something, but having a schedule helps.

I followed a lot of people. Now this may be obvious and you’re rolling your eyes right now. But to be honest, I wasn’t actively following accounts before this. To grow, I had to follow 100-200 per week. I don’t follow random accounts, however. I check their profiles first to see if they show signs of liking content similar to mine. You can find people who are interacting with hashtags you use to find like-minded accounts to follow.

I upped my engagement. I commented on others’ pictures. I do this authentically when I like the content and have something to say about it. So I don’t go around spam liking and commenting, but I set aside time each day to engage on Instagram.

I strategized. I focused my energy on accounts with similar numbers to mine. If an account has 15,000 followers and they’re following 600, do you really think they’re going to follow and engage with your content? It’s unlikely.

I organized my content better. Since I cover lifestyle and fashion content, I have to balance the variety of my photos (see what it looks like). Instead of haphazardly posting several fashion shots in a row, I’m trying to bring balance to my feed.

I still have a long way to go in branding my content, keeping it consistent and engaging more on Instagram. But I hope reading my experience was somewhat helpful to you.

Do you use Instagram? How are you working to grow your account?

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