Friday, July 19, 2013

Catch-22s







What I Wore:
Necklace: eBay - $12
Shirt: GAP - $12
Shorts: Target - $13
Belt: from a pair of pants
Sandals - birthday gift

I took pictures inside and outside in preparation for back to work photo hours. I think this wall by my husband's grandfather's trunk (Fins's grandparents painted the Notre Dame behind me, as well) works the best for pictures when I once again have to take pictures before the sun rises. It's amazing seeing these pictures together--you can really tell the difference between natural lighting and indoor lightbulb lighting. I obviously prefer the natural lighting, but I'm also excited to wear boots again, so fall is a Catch-22. I am even more excited about the fact that we cut our commutes in half with our move to our new house, so it's possible that I might catch some early daylight hours to get my blog pictures.

Pictures for my blog are kind of a Catch-22 in themselves. If I get pictures in the morning before I leave, the timing is typically perfect, my hair and make-up are at their best (arguably) and my outfits are as wrinkle-free as they're going to get. However, morning photos require indoor photography, as I leave for work as the sun is rising. Afternoon photography can give me better lighting, but I take the picture after a long day of teaching -- and the after-effects of teaching make for wrinkled clothes, crazy hair, and questionable make-up sliding. It seems to me that my best option comes down to indoor pictures in the morning--though I have to take the occasional wrinkled-skirt photo in my classroom or when I get home in the afternoon.

I feel guilty when I post photos with bad lighting or wrinkled clothes -- and I've even given a lot of thought to ending my blog because the quality of photographs lack what I see in other blogs. After a lot of thought and advising from Fins, I remembered that I started this blog for myself -- and it has done a world of good for me and my style. I find so much joy in talking with all of you, getting your tips, and even your critiques. As long as I enjoy writing my blog, I'm going to keep doing it.

Either way, I don't know why I feel pressured to have magazine-polished photographs of my outfits. Is there an expectation of bloggers to have DSLR-taken-Photoshopped-outdoorsy-ethereal-scenery-marketable pictures of their clothes? I imagine if you're reading my blog, you probably completely understand my lifestyle and don't expect my blog to be a magazine, so I think I am putting that pressure on myself. You guys know what I look like--and I'm sure you have enough imagination to remove the wrinkles or sense to translate the outfit into one with out imperfections, right? Maybe I should add a disclaimer under my picture: "Some creativity and imagination required."

I don't want to sound like the blogger who has a chip on her shoulder, but I write this blog as a hobby -- it's not even close to being my only job. If you're reading this blog, it's not because I advertised or plastered my link everywhere. If I have sponsors or c/o items, it's not because I went out of my way to track them down or contacted them first. I love that my blog is more relaxed and low-maintenance--and I hope that you do, too.

Also, this post turned out a lot longer than I originally intended...It was originally entitled "Birthday Cake Shirt" and included some pseudo-witty little diatribe about how my shirt looks like sprinkles.
That's actually all I had.
XO,

60 comments:

Whitney said...

I understand the picture quandary. I'd love to have the time to find great locations or pictures, etc. but my front yard is pretty much as good as it gets. I applaud you for taking daily pictures, instead of the way I do to it, before hand on the weekend. I know I wouldn't have the time to do it daily. Plenty of successful bloggers take insider turns just like you, Putting my together for example. I guess I feel like people read your blog for who you are and your fun style, and if they don't read because of a trunk and picture in the background, that's their loss.
Ginny

Whitney said...

I totally understand where you are coming from, with pressures about your pictures/wrinkles/background/perfection. I feel them too. But I also know that sometimes I don't like following perfect magazine-worthy blogs because they don't feel real, or they don't feel like they could easily translate to my lifestyle too. And you are one of the bloggers who inspired me to start blogging too, so you're doing something right =)

Whitney said...

I love your blog Whitney! I generally take all my pictures over the weekend...which makes things easier during the week because I don't have to worry about picking out clothes. But different things work for different people...so don't change!

Whitney said...

Whitney! I love your blog and your wrinkles! I miss your photos at school with the world map and whiteboard behind you. I loved the real-life teacher setting :) Keep on doing what you're doing. PS. I adore the haircut; you're totally rocking it.

Whitney said...

Thank you for your honesty! But I love the realness of your blog, wrinkles and all! I recently started a blog (you'll find me with my iPhone selfies taken in front of my bedroom mirror after a day at work at greattoseeyou.blogspot.com.) for the same reasons it seems you did: for yourself. It's "real" bloggers like you that inspired me! While I love the magazine-ready blogs they are not something I aspire to because I know that isn't "me" and I would fail miserably at imitating them! So I totally get it and love the disclaimer idea! Ha!

Whitney said...

You basically expressed my exact thoughts as well. I know indoor pictures are not as good as outdoor ones, but if I wait till I get home from work(for the supposed golden hour or whatever), I'd have to iron my clothes, re-do my hair and makeup and that's just not something I'm interested in doing. I'd rather have nice looking clothes with good hair and makeup in less than stellar lighting.

Also, I don't really have a good spot outside my house to take pictures without looking like a total and complete weirdo.

Whitney said...

That polka dot top and necklace are so cute together! Have a great weekend!

Whitney said...

It is because of other teachers like yourself that I decided to start my own blog and capture my outfits for myself. Thank you for posting about how it is okay to not be perfect!

Whitney said...

There are times when my blog does not get a comment in weeks altogether and yet I keep it up for myself. This was inspiring reading for me and white and blue are always in ... no matter what season no matter what style ... did i mention i like your hair style very much.

Whitney said...

Your haircut is precious! This outfit is so fun!

Whitney said...

I has actually always been a pet peeve of mine that career bloggers have like 6 photos of themselves in one outfit. One from the front one from the right, one pretending to be candid, one on a dock, one wildly swinging a handbag a la abbey road... One or two full lengths and a few detail shots are all you need. Of course I'm partial but I love your blog. :)
<3 Andrea
RealPracticalHousewives.com

Whitney said...

Totally get it -- and I keep coming back for your fun style, pattern-mixing, and sense of humor. And I take daily pics, too, and work full-time, and don't monetize my blog, so yep, I was just nodding my head all through your post. And I have to admit, I love the winter season, but I loathe it for purposes of the blog -- b/c it's dark when I get up and dark when I get home, which means indoor lighting. I might try that weekend trick during the winter only, but I also like that when I post an outfit, my readers know that's how I actually wore it. And I often do spontaneous things with my hair or jewelry that just come to me on the day, for whatever reasons. And it's fun for me, at least, to capture that on a daily, this-is-what-happened kind of basis.


And now I'm the one who's gone on too long... you've started a trend! ;)


Jen @ Librarian for Life & Style

Whitney said...

Indoor pics are HARD! But if we want to be real then, yes, we have to do them. What I've found helpful is not using the flash and then using the autofix in online programs like Pixlr. There's a difference between being attainable and aspirational. Many of those bloggers with high end cameras, amazing tweeked outdoor photos, and magazine style are just aspirational. I know you want to be attainable! And being attainable means showing us everything, warts and all :-)

Whitney said...

I've had the same thoughts! Morning isn't a good time for me, because I have to let my hair air dry (so it's still wet before work), and I'm not a morning person AT ALL, so I tend to look very sleepy. But it's usually getting darker by the time I make it home, and then there are the wrinkles from sitting at my desk all day. I wish I had a fancier camera, but I'm not willing to spend the money on it! I think/hope that most of your readers (and mine) aren't coming for perfection, and will appreciate the outfit photos for what they are. If I want a magazine, I'll go buy Vogue!

Whitney said...

argh i missed this shirt and kick myself for it every time!

Whitney said...

PREACH IT, GIRL!

But seriously, I feel you. It's hard to feel good about your blog when you see all these magazine-esque photos on professional bloggers' sites. That's part of the reason why I've been so excited to upgrade my camera. But honestly, I don't think photos like that are really necessary unless you're trying to quit your day job and live off of ads/sponsors alone. And even blogs like that tend to have an "expiration date," so to speak.

I tend to like the non-professional blogs better anyway. The bloggers are more likely to be more personal, like you with this post, because they're not focusing on being broad enough for a huge audience. I say, stick with what makes you happy :)

Whitney said...

Okay, 1. My very first thought was that OMG that shirt looks like a birthday cake. 2. Can I tell you a secret? (Which may not really be a secret.) I take my pictures with my iPhone. I understand that the quality of my pictures suffers for it a little bit but I'm not going to go buy a $400 camera when I don't really NEED to. So you take your pictures whenever/wherever works for you, and despite the unnatural lighting or melting makeup, I'll keep coming back, because I like ya. :)

Whitney said...

The confetti tee! I am so bummed I wasn't able to find one at any of my Gaps :(

And I totally know what you mean about posting less-than-magazine-quality photos with wrinkly clothes, I mean, it seems like everyone and their mom these days are getting fancy dSLRs and posing in elaborate photoshoots, and I feel so... inadequate. But then I know that I'm not going to be devoting my entire paycheck to a new camera and fancy lens, or hours on setting up the perfect photo shoot and then photoshopping myself into oblivion, so I shouldn't put so much pressure on myself. I totally understand where you're coming from (because I'm in the exact same spot too) and I hope you don't stop blogging! I like that I shifted my focus of my blog to more of the budget aspect, and I think you can and should totally do the same, because you're on an even tighter budget than I am! I know you talked about your budget at the beginning of the year but I'd love to hear an update on what you've bought so far and your justifications and stuff. :)

I'm never going to be the most fashionable person or best photographer or eloquent writer, but I do know how to spend as little money as possible on cute clothes, and people are always interested in finding good deals and seeing how much others spend on clothes, so I think it was a good move.

Whitney said...

I have loved taking outside pictures without the rush and business of school mornings! I agree with you about photos...I am not a professional so I need to recognize my pictures for what they are, and be content with the blogging friends I meet and the style ideas I get.

Whitney said...

We love your blog for who you are, a very sweet woman with good taste and beauty clothes... Like a friend that we admire for her sense of style and we ask for advice. So PLEASE don't change anything of the format of the blog, it's so real!!! . Guisela

Whitney said...

I love that shirt! And I totally get what you're saying! And I love your blog!

Whitney said...

AMEN! =]

Whitney said...

As someone who takes all of her photos in front of her bedroom wall, I know exactly what you're talking about. But I stop by this blog regularly not for Photoshop perfection and scenic backgrounds, but for cute, fun outfits put together with affordable items. I have the same dilemma about the photo-taking once the school year starts, and need to figure out some photo spots soon!
p.s. That shirt is wonderful!

Whitney said...

don't stop what you are doing and don't question yourself for another second! i'd prefer wrinkly skirts, wacky hair, bedroom backdrops any day... and i'm speaking for myself because that's what my pictures are like haha! it's real life, that's what i admire most about blogs like yours. so keep doing what you are doing!

Whitney said...

I think you should refer to your shirt as the "birthday cake shirt" from here on out! That said, I totally agree with the photo dilemma! Who has the time, money and expertise to take such stellar photos (and primp themselves with perfect hair and makeup)? Not me...and it won't be me unless my blog is making me more money than my day job, which I don't forsee happening. Keep it up Whitney- love your style and how you keep it real!

Whitney said...

First of all, I really like your pictures! The bloggers that have photos taken with scenic vistas all around kind of bother me--that's so NOT real life! I like seeing what you really wear to work day to day, and your outfits are always full of inspiration.
Also, I am in love with that shirt. There's nothing better than multi-colored polka dots!

Whitney said...

I am a fellow teacher and I have been following your blog for several
months. Your blog is the only blog I consistently follow because I love
your fashion sense as a teacher and your honesty, especially since
Target is pretty much the only store I shop at (I also have a 2 1/2
year old daughter, a 45 minute daily commute, and little time to go
anywhere else!). I have never once thought of your pictures as
low-quality. Please don't stop blogging! I think most people appreciate
your real-life portrayal of dressing as a young professional on a
budget. And if they don't - they can go elsewhere!

Whitney said...

Thank you so much, Jessica! I think we are definitely our own biggest critics, and I can definitely get inside my own head sometimes (especially when I play the comparison game).
Your lifestyle sounds so familiar (minus the daughter! I don't know how you do it!).

Whitney said...

Ha! Scenic vistas! I wish I lived near a scenic vista to take fun pictures, and I've even considered taking the time to stop somewhere on the side of the road...but that's crazy, right? Who does that without seeing the insanity? I don't know what good it would bring me by spending an extra hour a day (that I don't have) on photos. I think you guys get what you get with me. ;)
This shirt is definitely a lot of fun! I feel like a five year old when I wear it! :)

Whitney said...

haha! Yes! I will definitely refer to it as such from now on. :)
Thanks so much for your thoughts and sweet words here, Valerie. I think, again, that I put pressure on myself to do everything to my absolute best -- and when something I do isn't top notch, it bothers me. I have a bit of an overachiever syndrome... ;)

Whitney said...

Thanks so much, Heidi! I'm grateful for sweet blogger friends like you that keep me sane! :)

Whitney said...

Thank you so much for giving me a little more perspective! I think you're right to focus on the subject of the blog (the outfits) rather than creating a photography blog with the outfit as a sideshow. Thank you!

Whitney said...

I knew I liked you.

Whitney said...

I fell in love with this shirt and tracked it down like a mad woman! ha!
Thanks so much, Autumn!

Whitney said...

You are too kind, Guisela! Thank you! I'd much rather be a friend than an unapproachable/unattainable model/magazine. :)

Whitney said...

YES! School mornings are pure insanity! ha! You're so right...I need to calm down and remind myself that this blog is just me -- I don't have a team or a group or a panel writing/taking pictures, etc. This is me and I'm real, right? :)

Whitney said...

Aw! I had trouble finding it near me and I didn't want to order it without trying it on for sizing...but a friend stumbled onto it in Atlanta and I snatched it. ;)

YES! I'm still using a point-and-shoot with a timer...I don't even have someone's help getting the pictures to start with. I feel completely inadequate sometimes. It's so irrational--because if I think about WHY I would want to "improve" my pictures, it's for reasoning that I don't even care for. More readers/sponsorships/traffic? I never set out to be a huge blog -- and I thought having 300 readers was a goal I'd never attain....much less more than that!



I've been intending to redo a closet post and talk about budget, etc, especially with the move, but it's pure chaos right now...at least until we get wifi (tomorrow!). Thanks for the extra push to do it! I appreciate it! :)


You're so right, Kimmie. It's nice to know what you're good at and have a focus--I think I'm still trying to find mine.

Whitney said...

haha! So glad to have a fellow sweet-toother to notice the birthday cake parallel here! :)
I think that it's awesome that you take your pictures with your iPhone! I have to do that sometimes, and I think the pictures turn out just as well! I completely agree--an expensive camera isn't worth the investment for me (especially since I wouldn't have the time to learn how to use it properly--it would be a waste!). Thanks so much, Kim!

Whitney said...

I'm glad that I've got some solidarity here! :) I think your blog is wonderful--and your pictures are so perfect for you and your blog! You know how to pose--probably need to teach me that, as well! haha!
I think you're absolutely right--I never set out to make this a full-time job, right? Why am I so worried about those few judgey people who wouldn't read my blog for a few wrinkles or non-DSLR pictures? :)

Whitney said...

It's a great shirt! I think you could probably make it yourself if you got really creative!

Whitney said...

I so agree with you, Andi! I love reading all of the "aspirational" blogs, but they really aren't good for my sanity! It's probably the same as watching the Victoria's Secret fashion show over and over again every day...it's not attainable for me and I didn't want to be that in the first place, right? :)

Whitney said...

Yes they are! I have a photographer friend who came over to my house and gave me some pointers, so it's possible I might get better (and share her tips with you guys soon!). I use Picasa right now--but mostly because it organizes your pictures for you and makes albums easy.
Attainable > Aspirational. I completely agree.

Whitney said...

Thank you so much, Jen. I am completely on board with you! We have real lives and real outfits, and I'm so grateful that bloggers like you exist! :)


Never worry about writing too much (I don't)!

Whitney said...

Ha! I agree....even weirder when it's six different locations...How does anyone have time for that?


Thank you so much for your help and ideas for my indoor pictures! We need to get on that guest post soon! :)

Whitney said...

Thanks so much, Maria! I don't think I'll ever have long hair again -- I love it that much!

Whitney said...

Sometimes commenting goes pretty slowly here, as well. I'm definitely not the best about commenting, but I have everyone's blog in an RSS feed and I read everyone's posts daily! Thank you so much, Ruby! I really like my hair the way it is now, too!

Whitney said...

I am so glad that you started your own real life blog--I think there should be some kind of network or listing for all teacher blogs! :)

Whitney said...

Thanks so much, Rachel! I thought the necklace echoed the colors perfectly!

Whitney said...

I'm glad that you feel the same way--but I adore your pictures! You are front and center and it shows off your fun style so well! You always look great! We are our own worst critics!

Whitney said...

I love your blog--thank you so much for sharing it with us! :) You're adorable!

Thank you for your kind words and reality check. :) I need it sometimes!

Whitney said...

Thanks so much! I am kind of excited to get back to my classroom--bad lighting and all! :)


One of my close friends said this is his "favorite Whitney hair ever," and I have to agree! I love the pixie cut! Thank you!

Whitney said...

Thanks so much, Tara! Your pictures are always so great...I hadn't thought of taking them all on a weekend -- what a time saver! Thanks for the idea! :)

Whitney said...

I agree with you, for sure--I tend to follow/unfollow/follow again/unfollow cycle aspirational blogs a lot for that very reason! I love their clothes and it's fun to read along/see the magazine-esque pictures, but it doesn't really translate into my life or lifestyle!
Thank you so much for the kind words and encouragement! :)

Whitney said...

Your pictures always look great! Your front yard is perfect. Tara also said that she takes hers on the weekend--it's something I never really considered or thought of! You two are creative! I can only imagine how my blog would suffer, though, because I'm good for a ten minute photo session every day, but it seems like that time would just compound on weekends! You do a great job with it!

Whitney said...

This post made me feel worlds better because I know I'm not alone. I actually stopped posting for pretty much those very reasons. You're allowing me to rethink that decision. Granted, now that it's summer, I have no desire to put on pants, let alone take pictures of me wearing said pants. Thank you for your candor. I appreciate you and your blog :)

Whitney said...

The fact that your posts are real is what appeals to me. I also was searching for a blogger who actually wears real outfits to work and being a teacher is a bonus as I am a teacher as well (though in a different context).

Whitney said...

Your laid-back blogging style is what inspired me to start a blog of my own! You are a busy woman with a career, family and life, just like me--just like so many of us. I love this blog just the way it is. I think it gives all of us with lives beyond blogs a real sense of friendship and community. I hate reading blogs that look like magazine pictorials.

Whitney said...

My Life groups leader at church has a saying, and it is SO TRUE: "Comparison Kills Contentment". The more we compare ourselves to what others have/do; the less content we are with our own lives.

Whitney said...

YES! I would totally be on board for that :)

Whitney said...

Honestly, I love the wrinkles and imperfections - that's real life! I just started following your blog because I like that it's real. I can really envision how the outfits might look on me. Keep it real ;)