The best app for beginner graphics

When you start taking your blog (youtube/Instagram) super seriously. You begin to realise that custom graphics are almost a requirement. This can be overwhelming if you don't know anything about photoshop or even where to begin.

Best app for graphics

While I am not suggesting taking a graphic design course, learning the basics of good photography and design is always a plus. The problem is when you have no idea where to start and really want to up your blog game now. 

I made the cover art for this post using my new favourite app, it is free well it has a free version and a paid one, I have found that the free version is more than good enough for my requirements. Though the paid version does look tempting, I honestly don't yet need it.

The app has a very small learning curve and after a few odd, and sometimes bad attempts, one figures out quite quickly what works for you. It has a lot of preset sizes and the icons are easy to figure out what to click on and what to avoid, for what you want to achieve.

screencapture-canva-create-a-design-1494506150582 copy.png

The app is called Canva and it is a little bit like what a lot of people wish they could do in Photoshop. I land up using a mix of photoshop and Canva but for most bloggers, it does almost everything they need. I honestly only use the mix of the two for my day job. The other thing I love is you can download the app onto your phone and create everything from birthday cards to Instagram posts and so much more. Also, you have access to your projects that you made on your computer on your phone. 

What I personally like is it is a little bit snap and click with the designs but if you play around you can create templates of your own. I created one for my Youtube channel but I haven't published my new series, yet, (work in progress).

Now I know this can not rival photoshop and using free stock photographs isn't always as great as using your own images but let's be perfectly frank. Doing everything on your own can be rather overwhelming. So finding things that you can do on your own without needing to hire a graphic designer or taking courses that a beginner blogger can't always afford.

What I can recommend with using this app is often less is more. Looking for clean photographs that fit the feeling of what you want to achieve, or can crop and edit simply to fit into what you want to achieve. I personally love using unsplash when looking for photographs because I am a sucker for a clean photograph that looks awesome. 

A simple pairing of one or two fonts that work well together and a great photograph can achieve a wonderful look. What I also did was, I uploaded my logo onto canva so I can just put it into the image and brand my graphics.

My blogs colours are white, pink and a gray, this combo I use in various effects to help with my own post branding. I have made the decision to not go back and rebrand all my old posts but just using this combo as I go forward. Will it work? I think so, I have used this on other sites with rather great success.

Where the two websites mentioned can be found:

What are your favourite apps to create designs?

Why plus-size fashion sucks, sometimes.

I don't talk about fashion and being plus sized often. While I do have strong options about it, I keep quiet since it is weirdly a very emotional topic to talk about. So while I get there are companies doing their best to market to plus sized girls, it is still a very much a fat shaming issue.

So lets look at it from a not fat shaming place. I am a big women, I am not huge but I am very much on the plus size side and honestly, yes I know I need to loose weight. Though like a lot of plus sized girls, there are very few diets, I haven't tried and I need to sort out inner issues before I can sort out outer issues. 

One of the biggest inner issues for most plus sized women is esteem, media keeps telling you that being bigger makes you ugly. That if you wear this type of clothing, and wear your hair like this and do your makeup like this, you will be smaller hence more beautiful. They lie, beauty comes from within, but this need to fat shame people is ridiculous. 

Pregnant women complain about how people treat them, that their bodies aren't their own when they are expecting since everyone and their aunt comments. Well plus sized women have the same but on a much worse scale. People at the gym, take pictures of you, we have all seen the pictures on facebook or 9gag mocking the bigger people at the gym. Not to mention restaurants or clothing stores. 

Actually lets look at fashion and clothing stores. What the heck, most clothing stores that do have a plus-sized area has either a ridiculously small collection or they have it in part of the store in the back hidden way so that the "beautiful" people don't needed to be confronted with plus sized clothing. The clothing isn't often flattering because most of it is box shaped in order to hide the body underneath it. It seems that plus sized clothing is cut for a weirdly specific body shape, and doesn't take in account, some women are busty, some are hippy and some have bellies. There is this culture that girls shouldn't show their bodies, so doesn't matter if she has good legs, a nice waist, all of that must be hidden in this box. 

Then let's talk about sizing, when you are plus sized, the size on the label actually means something. It is heart-wrenching to be a size this in one brand and a different size in another or even worse when the sizing isn't constant over one brand or stores clothing. This happened to me recently and made me think a bit. I bought a pair of jeans online, not only wasn't it the size that I ordered but the brand itself had 2 different sizes on the labels. The jeans were roughly 2 sizes too small just by the label. From looking at them, they sent me jeans 6 sizes to small and clearly not plus sized. If it had been 16 year old me, I would have been devastated, there would have been crying, and feeling really bad about myself and a huge knock to my ego. Now I am comfortable enough with myself to know that this is their error and doesn't reflect on me at all.

The point however is, do we really need to make larger women feel bad and label their clothes plus sized. Plus sized clothing is more expensive but a lot less care is given to the design of it. Surely in 2017, clothing brands can start to wake up and realise a large part of the population is large and treating them as if they are inferior or "ugly" is a good way to loose out on the money. Plus sized women tend to be very loyal to brands that make them feel good about themselves. 

If you have ever gone through this, I deeply feel your pain. If you are struggling with your self-esteem because of your jean size or the scale in your bathroom. I just want to say you are beautiful.

 

Dance Class

After having been together for 5, well almost, 5 whole years. I can honestly say that other than some silly moves at a club and one wedding we attended where we mostly did the same silly moves and the shuffle. We finally attended a dance class. Whoohoo!

This is JP and Angelique dancing, not me and MR CD

This is JP and Angelique dancing, not me and MR CD

While our instructor, the wonderful JP, who owns Divergence Dance Studio took a lot of time and patience with us. He and Angelique teach the class together so girls have someone to follow with the steps and guys have. JP does lead the class so you don’t get confused who to listen to when. You can see they have a lot of practise doing this.

Our first class was an individual class so just Mr. CD and myself attended the class. Which worked since he counted each step, then got the hang of it and then went with it. I had a full ambidextrous moment and forgot which foot does what a few times since my balance and lack of dancing in years made me a little bit funny on the floor.

In an hour we learnt the basics to the boogie and the foxtrot. JP taught us the basics to the Boogie as well as the basics to the Foxtrot, and since I know it was the very basics, I think he did it in a great way. He made the dances fun and broke the steps down to a very basic level.

You can dress up or down, as much as you would like. I went in flat shoes and my fairly casual work clothes while Mr. CD went in jeans, a t-shirt and takkies. I learnt that flat shoes while super comfy might not work for Ball room, I am sure I have heeled dance shoes somewhere in a closet. Either in our flat or at my mothers’ house.  

Things I learnt, don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. Wear comfy clothes that you can move in. Wearing heels to dance in are worth it, even if it means relearning how to wear a pair of heels. Most importantly, dancing with a partner and being led is a very weird experience if your dancing repertoire is ballet when you were a kid and that weird dip into belly dancing in your early twenties. Neither of these require being led around the room nor touching the person you are dancing with all the time unless you reach quite high levels of ballet that I never got too. Relax about that, it does get better with practice I am told.

The Dance studio has new wooden floors, mirrored walls and safe parking. It is in Melville and very close to Greenside, as well as Parkhurst areas. Which means it is easy to get to. The classes are offered at night so, no worries about getting it to fit into your schedule.

If you are getting married, JP offers wedding dance choregraphy as well. This is great because no awkward moments for the groom or bride that can’t dance. 10 lessons gets you the perfect first dance, tailored to your song and how you dance. I think this is great after having witnessed many awkward first dances.

For more information you can contact JP via his Facebook page linked here.

This post was not sponsored in anyway. 

Planner Talk

So I recently got into planners and how they work. Sharing my thoughts on Youtube. If you are curious go check it out. 

You may notice the date I posted the blog on youtube and the date that I posted this on the blog differs. That was by mistake. I completely forgot to share. Whoops

Board games for Presents

Why board games?

boardgame presents

When most people think of board games, games such as Cluedo, Monopoly and Scrabble come to mind, these are all very well and good but they aren't the only games out there. The board gaming industry has had quite a growth the last couple of years and the games themselves have changed. Boardgames are a fun way of spending time with friends, family and loved ones and appeal to so many different people.  

Boardgames come with different goals and how seriously they need to be taken. They can be as silly as herding cats to as serious organising cities. This is great because chances are you can find something to play that someone you know will enjoy playing, once you figured out the rules. Thankfully the games come with rulebooks and sometimes youtube videos or wikipedia pages. Often it is a lot of fun trying to figure out what game would appeal to a person that you are shopping for. 

I think Boardgames work as a present for most people, as long as they have someone to play them with. So if you going to buy a board game, then be a pal and play the game with them.

My favourite places to buy a board game:

Outerlimits in Melville:

I love how amazing and friendly, Grant and his staff are. You build a relationship with them, they get to know you and your friends and have great recommendations. (They are moving their shop to Nexus in Randburg in January but still open in Melville.)

Takealot.com

While you won't be building a relationship with them, you will definitely get the presents sent to any place around South Africa. 

Amazon

This is great when you need to ship presents around the world. Shipping to South Africa is expensive but really reasonable if you sending presents to Europe or North America. 

Games that are good:

I did do a post last year on casual boardgames. You can read it here. I also wrote a review on Flux, so check that out here

Let me know, if you want a written review. 

Favourite stationary that I carry around almost daily

So something a lot of people know about me, is that I love stationary. Not in an “oh what a pretty notebook” kind of a way but more of an “I must have it all” kind of way. I am basically the crazy girl in the stationary shop that will go in for a pen, knowing full well which one I want and leave with three bags of stationary. I haven’t bought new stationary for a while because I like being able to afford to eat.

Almost daily stationary

Now one of the things I should say that everyone is different and what works for me, might drive you utterly and completely batty. There isn’t much I can do about that other than being super specific about what I like about the products and you can read through them and decide if it works for you.

Pens

Pens are one of those things that everyone has their own preference but I have a few options about that makes a pen good for me. I like a very thin line, I write really small and it is a mix of cursive and lose so the thinner lines make it look super neat whereas with a thicker pen it could easily look sloppy. Personally I very seldom get along well with a gel pen though once in a while I find an exception to the rule.

  • Pilot BP-1 Fine- I got this at PNA
  • Pentel Pocket brush pen
  • Clip Pen

Highlighters:

Some people only use thick and super bold highlighters. I am a little different, I want a thinner barrel that I can easily hold in my hand and use as a calligraphy pen with ease if I am a little bored. Colours are a hit and a miss, I definitely see yellow better than other colours but I am not the world’s biggest fan of yellow so I TEND TO GO FOR SOFTER PINKS OR PURPLES, I find blue is too close to the colour of the pen.

Pentel- Skylights

Pencils

Is there anything better to use while brainstorming or just thinking up an idea than a pencil? Honestly I don’t think so. While I despise using a clutch pencil to draw with, I feel the exact opposite about a clutch pencil to write with. I prefer a 0.3 lead or even a 0.5 led while busy writing, any thicker than that and my brain rebels against it, and I keep thinking my handwriting looks super unneat right now.

Clutch pencil, has no name on it but I got it at PNA

Notebooks

Notebooks can be a hit and a miss, the biggest thing is I want them to lie flat when I open them and the paper has to be super smooth, almost a little glossy. It makes me feel as if it is a huge luxury item and a pretty notebook is expensive so why not chose ones that make writing in them feel worth your time?

Woolworths notebook

Do you have any stationary items you would recommend?

Please note this is not a sponsored post or even uses affiliate links. Not that either of those would change how I review a product, honesty foremost.