Explore My Instagram Feed

A lot of the photos I use in on this blog originate from my Instagram feed, which I’m happy to say is now available on the web.

Check it out!

Instagram Feed
A mobile version of the new web profiles.

Instagram is primarily a mobile-based app, so these new user profiles are a step outside the box. I just viewed mine for the first time and am pretty pleased with it overall. Some of the photos were taking awhile to load, but I presume that’s a bug that’s going to be fixed in the long run.

I use this app to curate photos from my adventures. It has a range of filters you can use to edit photos, but I prefer to edit most of mine with other mobile software before uploading them.

Hard core photographers usually don’t like Instagram, but seeing as my iPhone takes better quality photos than my current camera, I’m happy to have a fun alternative available.

If you have a smart phone, you should try it out. If you’re concerned about copyright infringement or anything like that, check out the terms of use and see if you’re comfortable with it. Watermarking your photos is also an option I see a lot of from the photographers I follow.

You’ll continue to see lots of Instagram photos showing up on this blog, and if you’re interested in seeing everything I post, here you go. All the photos are mine except if I do a collaboration (something I haven’t done much of yet), and if it is my edit of someone else’s photo, I denote in the caption.

I look forward to the day I can afford my own camera with multiple lenses and all that jazz.

Until then, this is what I have.

And I try my hardest to post images that reflect what I feel: “The beauty we see will only happen once.”



Shop Small

In the Sauk Valley area, it’s a movement known as Shop Small.

Across the nation, it might be better known as Small Business Saturday, sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in a weekend of shopping extravaganzas.

Last week I was working on stories for Sauk Valley Media’s upcoming gift guide.

I was interviewing the owner of a small gift shop in Sterling about jewelry. Between questions, one employee looked intently at my wrist.

“Where’d you get that bracelet?” she asked. “We carry ones just like it. Blue, black.”Bracelet

“It was a few summers ago,” I said. I told her I didn’t really remember.

But I did.

Kohls. The popular department store, which came to Sterling a few years ago, has more than 1,100 U.S. locations. I don’t feel guilt about where I bought the bracelet from, but that lady’s simple question prodded my brain.

“They say a dollar spent in the community turns seven times,” the co-owner of a jewelry store in Dixon told me at another interview.

Small businesses have to stick together these days. The French Market I blogged about in September was a collaboration between several businesses in Princeton’s Art District, and it successfully generated business and buzz about stores many people drive past but seldom enter.

This post is not meant to scold people for not shopping locally, and it’s not meant to condemn shopping at nationwide chains. Rather, my intent is to raise awareness about local businesses. Shopping locally is going to be a part of my personal push to live where I am. Along with exploring local parks, which I’ve done a lot of this fall, I think it’s worth delving into local shops and eateries. I want to get all that I can from this area before I move on. And when I do, I want to carry a local mentality with me.

I’ve rethought my Christmas shopping strategy for this year. I’m going to make my list earlier than usual and see what Princeton, Dixon and Sterling have to offer before I go elsewhere.

I put this thought into action right after the gift shop interview. Bushel Basket Candle Co. adjoins the Sterling Mall and has an array of wonderful-smelling candles. I knew from the moment I walked in that I’d leave with something.

What inspiration will you find this season from shopping small?