by gillian claire



circle sidebar photo tutorial / sponsored post.

For all of my photos, I shoot in raw and use Lightroom and Photoshop for my editing. Way back in the day, when I had my first "real" camera, a Canon Rebel, the first editing program that I used was an online site called Picnik. Does anyone else remember when Picnik was around? When I was recently given the opportunity to review a new online photo editing site, Fotor, I was pleasantly surprised to find that is it basically the new and improved Picnik!
. is a great, free, easy to use online site for editing photos! It features all kinds of basic editing adjustments to play around with as well as curves and even "beauty" adjustments such as skin softening. I  highly recommend checking out Fotor if you are a new photographer or someone who isn't really interested in pursuing professional photography but would like to better your photos! I feel like starting out in Picnik all of those years ago introduced me to the fundamentals of editing so that when I first started using Lightroom I already had a little bit of a grasp on my own unique editing "style".
Another great feature of is the collage feature! I have to admit, I have wanted to make a circular sidebar photo for a while now but just haven't put in the time to do it! Surprisingly, when I went to browse Pinterest, I didn't feel like there were a whole lot of great tutorials out there for creating a circular photo! I've never done a tutorial before but I'd love to share how I was able to quickly and easily make a circular photo for my sidebar using Fotor's collage feature!
Okay, once you are on the editing page at Fotor, click on the photo collage tab on the top. Or click here to take you directly to Fotor's collage page! It will ask you to update your photo first on the far right hand side. Click on "add photo" and then choose "computer" to select a file. Once your photo is uploaded, it is time to choose a template!

Fotor offers a lot of great pre-made templates, but to find the basic circle template that I needed I chose the second tab down from the top on the far left hand side. (It is pictured as a heart in front of a square.) Then, click on "design your own".

Choose the circle shape from the basic shape category. Then, drag the photo that you have uploaded from the box on the right hand side of the screen and drop it into the circle template in the middle of the screen.
Alright, now we need to get rid of all that white space around the photo. To do this, click on the first tab on the top of the screen that looks like a paintbrush. (Note: each time you click to a different screen, a pop up will ask if you want to apply or discard your progress; click "apply" to save what you have done so far and move on to the next step.) Now click "crop" and make sure you check the "keep proportions" box. This will ensure that your crop is going to stay a perfect square. Cut your crop pretty close to the circular photo, leaving a little space around it. Click "apply" to complete the crop.
The last step in getting your photo ready for your blog is to resize it. To do this, click "resize". Again, make sure you check "keep proportions." I resized my image to 200 x 200 pixels. This is a pretty standard size for a blog sidebar, but it will depend on the particular look that you are after. Click apply and your photo is ready to go!
To save the finished photo to your computer - click the save button. Then on the left hand side, choose .png and click save! I always use a .png image vs. a .jpg image when I am adding something to my blog design. It comes out clean and crisp. Now your photo is ready to load onto your blog template! (Which could be a whole other tutorial itself!)
I also love how you can add text on Fotor, choosing from TONS of free fonts as well as make cards! I know that Valentine's Day is over, but look at this cute Valentine's Day card that I put together using photos from one of my clients!
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial! Check out Fotor and let me know if you found anything worthwhile!
Are you following me yet on Pinterest?
(I was compensated for sharing my opinions about this company. Thank you so much for supporting my family by reading!)

asher, at two and a half.

2R6A62912R6A6288-2(photos from the fall, canon markIII)
i just want to share a few things about asher right now, at a little over 2 and 1/2 years old.
asher is still wild, wild, wild as can be.
he also has the sweetest, most precious little heart,
and is sensitive to all of the sweetest parts of life.
he has taken to his little white tiger stuffed animal that we bought on the road trip out to colorado. he carries it in the crook of his arm. he is so gentle and kind with, "baby tiger".
he has always loved to play "baby". i have no idea where he gets this idea from since we are never around babies. i really think he might just be savoring feelings that he has in his memory.
he lays in my arms and pretends he is a baby, and then a cat. he does this the same, everyday.
he lays in the laundry basket while i fold clothes and makes little newborn cooing sounds as i cover him with blankets.
he still sleeps next to me every night.  he still adores my hair; it's his security blanket.
"biiiiiig hair," he says. this boy can twirl hair like nobody's business.
we took the boys the denver museum of nature + science recently on their "free day".
the way that asher reacted pretty much sums up his soul entirely.
he was literally running full speed and yelling in excitement from one thing to the next.
his face was completely lit with joy.
i can't even explain to you how excited this child was.
of course all of the kids at the museum were cheerful and delighted, having a good day with their families.
but i am willing to bet that asher was by far,
 the happiest of them all.
this guy can scream and throw a tantrum like crazy.
and he does, everyday, multiple times a day.
but when he is happy,
he does it full force as well.
he still talks about the museum, everyday. he lists off all of the things he saw:
"i saw allisaurs!"(dinosaurs) "i saw baby fish having nani! awww so cute!" (baby manatee nursing!)
"i saw spooky monkey in a box!" (a monkey/human hybrid, yeah it was spooky - he's right.)
and then, of course, he talks about how sad he was that he couldn't touch any of them.
including the hissing cockroaches.
this is the boy who, on his first birthday, pushed all of the children out of the way at the tiger exhibit and then cried against the glass when he finally realized that he wouldn't be able to go inside the enclosure with them.
much of asher's life has been surprising and new to me.
he is fiery and fierce.
thinking about all of these tiny, perfect things about him swells my heart.
i love this little boy.
i could go on and on.
he is passion, and hope and love.
he is going to do great things. and he is not going to let anyone stop him. ;)


monday things.

IMG_6638-2i haven't really blogged in a while, but i'm hoping to get back into it. ;)
things have been busy and changing around here.
the winter in colorado really hasn't been too bad. every other week seems to be warm and springy and we're able to go without jackets and spend time outside.
but when it IS cold and snowy, dang is it ever cold and snowy. and icy. and did i mention cold?
hopefully i will be back soon to share more.
until then, here are some of my favorite links of late:
of opinions + social media,
and a lovely essay by natalie jean.
also, is anyone interested in some free advertising on my blog??
i'd love to swap ads, so let me know if you are interested!

where the wild things are.

i always feel like the more i learn about photography and the more i pursue it professionally, the less and less i love it. this fall was definitely a struggle in that aspect. in between working on sessions for clients, i had just about every technical problem in the book. i love photography, i love art, but i do NOT love technology. not at all. i am the least patient person in the world, which doesn't help.
after finishing up the season client-wise, we took the boys out on halloween to one of our favorite walking places for photos.
it was so freeing to finally be using my camera to capture what my heart beats most passionately for, my two wonderfully-made-perfect-lovely boys,
out in nature - happy and joyful,
romping in the tall grass sunflare,
like the little wild things that they are.

choices / sponsored post.


nine days.

(top: roman, bottom: asher)
Alright guys, I'm here to talk a little bit about two of my favorite topics: babies + childbirth, and also to share a little bit about my sponsor: LifebankUSA. One issue that I feel very strongly about is a woman's right to birth and to me it is all  about women being educated about their choices. Having a baby is different than what it was in our mother's generation: we have more easily accessible rights and choices regarding how the birth of our child will go. I have always tried to hold strong to my convictions about the choices that I have made for my sons at birth and of course after, even when they went against the grain.  One thing that I am trying to keep in mind is that no matter what, I will never be perfect and neither will my choices. Today, mothers have so much to choose from and truly, the responsibility can be overwhelming. I would love to be the "perfect mom" and I find it very easy to fall into the "I wish I could be more like that," trap especially in the blogging world. Personally, I know that I will never be perfect and I know that when it comes down to it, being a good mother is really about trying my best to make better choices every day. I believe that all parents should educate themselves about all birth and parenting choices and feel empowered by making the best decision for their family. Whether you choose to have your baby at home or in a hospital, whether you choose to go intervention free or have an epidural during birth, whether or not you choose to breastfeed: make an educated choice that is best for YOU and feel empowered by it!

One choice that is new to our generation is that of cord blood banking, and I have been asked to share a little bit about that option with my readers today. LifebankUSA is a company that offers both cord blood banking as well as the combination of placental and cord blood banking. Collecting and saving stem cells from a baby's umbilical cord and placenta at birth could one day save that child's life or the life of a family member! There is only one opportunity to choose cord blood banking and it occurs at birth. I did not choose to bank Roman or Asher's cord blood, but as the practice is becoming more well known, it is something that I want to keep in mind if I get pregnant again. One thing that I think is really awesome about LifebankUSA is that you can also choose to donate your baby's cord blood! Cord blood banking is definitely something that is worth looking into today, so consider adding it to your list of things to educate yourself about as a parent!

Currently, LifebankUSA is hosting a contest on Facebook to give away 3 Britax Marathon 70-G3 Convertible Car Seats! These car seats are valued at $290! Be sure to check out the LifebankUSA Facebook Page to enter for a chance to win. All you have to do is "like" their page. Good luck!

(I was compensated for sharing my opinions. Thank you for supporting my family by reading!)

listen closely.

2R6A6364 (3)
2R6A6365 (2)2R6A6365<2R6A6363-2 (2)2R6A6345-2 (2)2R6A6354-2 (2) "let your heart guide you. it whispers, so listen closely."
- the land before time
i love these photos that aaron took of asher and me. this was during my frantic "trying to fix my camera" phase. honestly i don't even know what went wrong here but these photos are super grainy and technically wacky. i seriously love them in spite of that though and kind of because of that.
they aren't "perfect", but they are, ya know?

a letter to my baby.

IMG_6584-4 .
oh, asher. it's honestly hard to remember sometimes that you actually, truly are two.
certainly it's clear that you are changing and growing. every day you make me smile in wonder with your new words and new habits. of course you are two, of course. but still, really, you are just my baby. you are wanting and whiney and you ache and need with reckless abandon. you still sleep next to me every night and you still wake up to nurse. you still stir franticly to find me and you settle with my touch. you are sweet and little and  still somehow keep so much newborn-ness lingering about you. i can't completely explain this, but baby is just a part of your aura. i see it in you and your dad sees it too; it's just there.

you are such a trying little soul, full to the brim in every way imaginable. needless to say, my days also feel filled - with lots of patience-testing and soul wrestling moments and darker thoughts of "i never thought i'd be this mother" shouting and crying and wondering "when will this day/this week/these hard moments end?"

i know that you ache too. you feel so much and too much and your little tiny heart just can't always hold it all in.

looking back, i see now how it has always been in you, always all along. the way you stretched your little leg inside me, reaching, reaching until finally i could grasp my hand around your footprint entirely. poking from my belly, a tiny perfect foot. a real baby foot attemping to climb his way out of my womb, fascinating. i see it too, in the way you were born. i planned a water birth all along, it's what i'd practiced over and over in my mind. but at the last minute, my midwife was still fighting uneasy feelings that i should get out of the bath. and so, as you were coming into the world, i did. you were born in bed, fighting and grasping for breath. a baby who just wanted to breathe too soon. desperate to do everything fast and first right from the very first day.
sometimes, amidst all the turmoil and strife, i just get it. i get that you and i are not that different at all. and sometimes, in the middle of the night - there's just a fleeting instant where i feel it. we're both toppling about, restless in our sleep. i  pull your head to my face. i swear you still have some of that downy newborn hair and if i just tuck you in just right, i can still get a taste of that intoxicating newborn smell . your arm curls under my neck and your little baby hand twists for a fist of my hair. and we both just breathe a momentary, miniature sigh of relief. it's not a real sigh, but it's something.
and in that moment, we finally feel what we both have been searching for all along in life - just to be loved and cared for, for no other reason than love itself. 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...