by gillian claire

1.20.2017

A Year of Color: Black + *White*

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     Creatively, I have found that I have to exist in spurts. I need time away from certain things to regroup and feel inspired. The artistic part of me is never turned off, but it has to reset and live in phases. The past year has been a year of resting from my camera. That's not to say that I haven't picked it up here and there, but I haven't had many big projects or shoots that I've planned out and put my soul into. The year before last I was going to school and putting my heart into a lot of projects and ideas and so this past year has been one for rest.
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     Now I feel ready to maybe pick up my camera again and see what happens. When I saw that some bloggers I know were doing "The Year of Color" link-up, it really inspired me. I figured that maybe I could use the prompts as a little personal project for myself. I love the idea of open ended photo projects and while the intention behind their project isn't purely photography based, it's how I think I will try to interpret it.
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     This month's color is white. I don't immediately think of white as being my favorite color but I think that deep down it might be. I am always drawn to white and white space. When I was studying art in college, people would repetitively point out that my art: photography, painting, drawing, printmaking, any work that I've done, has a theme of white. Light and airy and clean always appeals to me. When I edit photos, I often reprocess them a few times before they feel "white" and "bright" enough. I had a painting teacher ask me why I liked white so much and I realized that it's a color that calms me. I feel like I've had much chaos in my life and white, somehow draws me to peace. Art is very therapeutic to me.
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     I just found out about this Color of the Year link up so I didn't have time to go out and use my camera just yet. So I rounded up some of my favorite black and white images to put together here hoping that looking through them would give me a little inspiration to go out and shoot something soon.
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How does white make you feel?
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Be sure to check out the wonderful bloggers behind this link up and join in as well! You can add your first post anytime this month!
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1.12.2017

iPhone 6 vs. iPhone 7 review + unboxing!

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     Oh hey, I finally got a new phone! I've been using my iPhone 6 with a completely shattered screen for a long time now so it was about time to upgrade. ( Shattered phone not pictured: sorry that you don't get to see that hot mess! ) I thought I'd do a little unboxing and comparison post for those of you who are maybe considering upgrading soon as well!
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     Of course, I picked the rose gold. I have to say now I have my hands on it though that this color is a little more "rose" than rose gold to me. I would probably just call this color metallic pink instead but it's very pretty regardless. Shown above is all of what came in the box: phone, new charger and a new set of headphones; always appreciated because I lose these things like mad.
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     One new feature of the iPhone 7 is that it no longer has the headphone jack. I guess Apple is assuming that wireless headphones are the way of the future. I've also read that they did away with the headphone jack in order to make the phone water resistant.  I wasn't sure how I felt about this feature but the iPhone did come with a pair of headphones that fit into the charging jack which is genius. It also comes with an adapter that you can use to make a regular pair of headphones work in the charging jack. The only problem is that you can't charge the phone while using these headphones. This is sometimes a pain for me on the treadmill at the gym but wireless headphones would definitely solve that problem. 
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The iPhone 7's rear camera is a lot bigger (and better) than the camera on the iPhone 6 which was a huge pull for me in getting this phone. The biggest pull was that this phone made my plan cheaper since Sprint was having a special offer, ha! The main reason that I even care about having a smartphone is for the camera. I love using my iPhone camera and I'm obsessed with Instagram so it was definitely time for me to upgrade. If you want the highest quality iPhone camera out there, go for the iPhone 7 Plus which has the portrait mode feature. I honestly didn't realize that the iPhone 7 didn't have portrait mode but I'm still happy with this upgrade for now.
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     So now it's time for a little comparison between the iPhone 6 (shown here in gold) and the iPhone 7! I never did get the iPhone 6s and I know that the jump from the iPhone 6s to the 7 isn't as drastic but there are quite a few differences between the 6 and 7 and even significant changes from the 6s to the 7. As you can see, the phones are practically the same exact size and look almost identical. From the back of the phone you can see that the biggest differences are the camera size as well as the fact that the iPhone 7 did away with the visible antenna lines.
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     The front of these phones look exactly the same but there is a huge difference in the home button. With the iPhone 7 they did away entirely with the moveable, clickable home button and the home button is now completely touch activated. It's kind of freaky because the button still feels "clickable" using vibrations. This blows my mind a little bit. Taking away the moveable parts makes the iPhone 7 a little sturdier; I know this firsthand because on my previous iPhone 6, I lost the home button entirely and was using assistive touch for a couple months. 
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I also have to mention again that the iPhone 7 is water resistant! From someone who has ruined several phones due to water damage, this is an awesome feature! Don't worry I'm still sticking a waterproof case on this bad boy so that I'm doubly protected! (I'm really rough on phones if you haven't noticed!)
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Here's a little closeup of the camera comparison and a few specs:
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iPhone 6 - rear camera: 8 megapixel sensor / f2.4 aperature
front facing camera: 1.2 megapixel sensor / f2.4 aperature
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iPhone 7: rear camera: 12 megapixel sensor / f1.8 aperture
 front facing camera: 7 megapixel sensor / f2.2 aperture
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Above, you can see the changes that the iPhone 7 made to the bottom of the phone by removing the headphone jack and replacing it with dual speakers. The dual speakers are supposed to add to the audio of the iPhone 7, which is a nice thought but I haven't noticed a huge difference.  The iPhone 7 uses the same size charger as the iPhone 6 which is awesome because now for once I actually have two working chargers laying around my house!
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There's my run down on the new iPhone 7. Overall I don't have any complaints!
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Have you guys upgraded to the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus yet? I'd love to hear your thoughts below!
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12.28.2016

New Year's Giveaway!

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I'm so excited to be hosting my second annual New Year's Giveaway on my blog! 
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     I've had so many amazing opportunities through photography/Instagram/blogging and now my VA business and it wouldn't be possible without all of the wonderful people I've connected with along the way! I love using this end of the year giveaway to give back to one of my followers. 
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     Last year I based the giveaway around some of my favorite companies that I worked with throughout the year and it was mostly geared towards moms + kids. This year, I'm doing an all girls giveaway to celebrate my female followers + friends who have stuck by me this year! I've only partnered with shops that I already followed and absolutely admire on Instagram! I'm actually really jealous putting this together because I want to win everything for myself now... ;)
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The giveaway is taking place on Instagram (so click over and enter there!) but I'm sharing a little bit about each shop involved with you here!
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Planners 4 All
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I don't know what it is about paper products and planners but I really never get sick of seeing them come across my Instagram feed! Tiffany is such a sweet gal and one thing that is unique about her planner business is that she also makes planners for kids! I love seeing all of the new, fun + colorful designs that Tiffany comes up with! Planners 4 All is giving away one adult 2017 planner of choice that can be personalized or monogrammed!
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Feather and Wild
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I am in loovvve with the hippy-dippy vibe of all of the products at Feather and Wild. I pretty much want everything in their shop. I only recently began to learn the story behind this handprinted clothing shop which consists of a husband and wife team ( and their 5 adorable kiddos )! You can learn more about their story here. Feather and Wild is giving away one of their gorgeous Manifest sweatshirts.
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Sweet Journey Shop
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Melanie is the face behind the Sweet Journey Shop and she is also a blogger at Life's Sweet Words and an avid RV traveler! I love Melanie's sweet and adventurous spirit. I still dream of traveling more in my life so she is definitely an inspiration to me! I fell in love with her mugs when I started seeing them pop up on Instagram. Sweet Journey Shop is giving away one "Adventure Fuel" mug. 
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Koala and Rawr Soaps
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Koala and Rawr is the cutest shop that creates beautiful soap masterpieces! One neat thing that they offer are custom photo soaps! Wouldn't they make the coolest party favor ever? My favorite though are these pyramid soaps. The best part is that there is jewelry hiding inside! Koala and Rawr is giving away one Triceratops Horn Soap. (with a jewelry surprise inside!)
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Shop Ava to Zoe
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I've recently connected with Janette on Instagram and she is a super talented blogger as well as the shop owner behind Shop Ava to Zoe. She creates gorgeous hand stamped leather goods. I love the hip and modern feel behind her shop and I can't wait to see what new products she comes up with this year! Shop Ava to Zoe is giving away two custom hand stamped leather keychains.
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Julia Paris Jewelry
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Julia Paris Jewelry creates handcrafted jewelry which she describes as, "minimal and modern with a touch of bohemian chic." I absolutely love her style and all of the gorgeous and timeless pieces she creates! I feel like everyone could find something they love in this shop. Julia Paris Jewelry is giving away a set of silver hexagon rings.
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I'm so excited to gift one of my followers all of these gorgeous prizes!
You all are the best and I'm so thankful that you've stuck around for another year at By Gillian Claire.
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Head over to Instagram to enter to win! Best of luck and best wishes in 2017.
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12.21.2016

romey turns 9.


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words can't even touch how i feel about my first baby, roman, turing 9 years old today. when he was born, i was practically a baby myself and how lucky i am now to have grown through these years with him by my side. i call him "moon" and he calls me his "star" and it's a universe that i'm pretty damn proud to be a part of. 
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just some words i shared on instagram on roman's birthday 12/6 
during his birthday week i tearfully went through these old photos of him, thinking deeply about this beautiful boy and what he means to me.
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happy 9th birthday romey, i can't wait to see what another year brings. <3
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12.20.2016

planning for 2017.

*This post is in partnership with STARTplanner. I only partner with brands that I use and love. Thanks for supporting my family by reading along!*
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The end of 2016 has held some huge transitions for me. The biggest being that I quit my day job and started my own Virtual Assistant business. It's basically my dream job because I'm able to use what I've learned in my  5+ years as a blogger to turn around and help businesses understand the world of Influencers. I get to do fun things like run other social media accounts and establish blogger to business relationships.
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Overall it's been an awesome experience, however making the switch to working from home has definitely been stressful for me. There is so much about this field that I'm having to learn and pick up along the way. Some weeks I've felt like I'm working around the clock which basically, I have been.
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While working from home can seem pretty great on the surface, it also comes with it's own unique set of challenges. I already knew from my work as a professional photographer (and blogger) that time management is something I struggle with. I am pretty much an unorganized hot mess and when it comes to working from home, it can really hold me back.
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One thing that I am excited to do in 2017 is start using a planner again. With my new job, I need  something tangible to keep me better organized. That's why I was so excited when STARTplanner sent me their beautiful Hustle Daily Planner to use next year! This is by far the nicest planner I've ever had my hands on. This planner is thick and each weekday has a full page spread which will be a huge asset to me when I'm planning my work week. The Hustle Planner has all kinds of great extras like a "goals" section where you can create a vision board as well as worksheets to break down your goals into manageable deadlines throughout the year!
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I don't have any set New Year's Resolutions for myself yet, but I am hoping to get off on the right foot simply by getting back to the basics a little bit. I'm hoping this planner will help me organize my days  so that I can be more efficient with my work, have time to hit the gym and keep track of my kids' activities as well!
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STARTplanner is giving away a planner to one of my readers! It's easy to enter. 
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1. Click here to fill out the easy entry form ( I promise it just takes a second! )
2. Head over to my Instagram @bygillianclaire and make sure you are following me + @startplanner
3. Comment on my Instagram planner photo sharing one of your goals for 2017
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I will be announcing the winner on Instagram on Christmas Eve!
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Best wishes for 2017 to you all! 
Any work from home mamas out there that can share some words of wisdom with me?
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