January 31, 2012

Ashley From "The Shine Project" Feels Most Beautiful...

Ashley from "The Shine Project" happens to be my first official "blog" friend. We are both AZ girls and I love Ash and what she stands for. She works hard trying to make other people's lives beautiful, but I wanted to know - what does Ashley feel most beautiful in? Here's what she had to say.

I feel most beautiful in a smile. I've noticed that when I'm smiling, it's usually because I'm focused on the people around me, and not myself. When I look outward, and give freely, my whole being lights up. There's nothing better than the joy that comes from lighting up someone's day with a smile.  It makes me feel beautiful because, as Audrey Hepburn says, "Happy girls are the prettiest girls." 

Thanks for sharing this great message Ash.  Make sure to stop by her blog to see all the smiles she's created on a daily basis for herself and for others.  :)

January 30, 2012

Carlin from "Superficial Girls" Feels Most Beautiful...

I've been following Carlin's blog for a while now.  I love her fun, chic and colorful style.  Today she is sharing what color she feels most beautiful in!  Can you take one wild guess!?  It's one of my faves too...

I feel most beautiful in... Pink!  I didn't always like the color pink, whilst growing up it felt like such a typical girl color and most certainly too noticeable.
As I got older I started to appreciate the color and the effect that it can have on my mood as well as people around me. Wear bright pink and all of a sudden the world seems like a much happier place. I am definitely known for wearing a lot of pink on my blog but I have received so much positive feedback on how my use of bright colors have made people smile when they see a new "pink" post from me that I cant see myself ever stop wearing it.

Don't be afraid to experiment with pink and unleash your bright side!

For more bright ideas, visit Carlin's fabulous blog at superficialgirls.com!  Thanks for sharing Carlin!

January 27, 2012

Devon from "Devon Rachel" Feels Most Beautiful...

Today we have the lovely Devon from devonrachel.com. I came across Devon's blog recently and was immediately drawn to her style!  We both love color and prints.  Today she is sharing what she feels most beautiful in - or even better, what print she feels most beautiful in!  Take it away Devon!

When Katie asked me to write about what I feel most beautiful in, a brown and black pattern I probably wear too often came to mind. As strange as it may sound, I feel most beautiful wearing a touch of leopard. Actually, the more leopard I've got on, the better. Whether it be the additional fierce-ness I seem to embody while wearing the print, or the beautiful juxtaposition it creates against any (and I mean any) other pattern...leopard makes me feel beautiful with a touch of sexy. Who wouldn't want to rock that feeling?

{I think we're all throwing our hands in the air Devon.  Thanks for the post and make sure to check out her blog for style inspiration at devonrachel.com!}

January 25, 2012

Sarah from "Fairy Tales are True" Feels Most Beautiful...

Third up is another one of my favorite bloggers, Sarah from Fairy Tales are True.  I pretty much live vicariously through her travels and life in Florida.  That, and she is my girl crush.  Let's see what she feels most beautiful in, shall we?

Hi! I'm Sarah. I love traveling the world, my puppy lola, cooking veggies, styling shoots, planning weddings and hanging with my husband.

Katie, {known in my world as the prettiest girl ever} asked me to tell y'all what i feel most beautiful in

. . .

and it is a

and nothing but a smile ...

Want to know something embarrassing about me? I was obsessed with the movie Annie as a child. It was the movie I'd watch over and over. I could still can sing every song by heart. My favorite was "you're never fully dressed without a smile" ... i was, like many kids, a total cheeseball.
but I didn't grow out of it ...
I am still found cheesing most of the day.

I don't have perfect teeth. my bottom ones are even more wonky than the top ones.

but that does not get in my way... for i have a lot to smile about.

{photo c/o shannon kirsten}

even a smirk will do...


Thanks so much for having me Katie!

And to everyone - don't forget to put on your smile today (:

Stop by Sara's blog, Fairy Tales are True, to see more of that beautiful smile of hers!

January 24, 2012

Jenni From "Story of My Life" Feels Most Beautiful....

Today we have my talented and witty friend, Jenni, from Story of My Life!  Another one of my daily must reads!  STOKED to have her on here!  She will definitely brighten your day with this post.

Hi there Running On Happiness readers! PSYCHED to be here with you today. If you read Katie's blog, you clearly have great taste. Katie is sweet, and smokin', and all around awesome, and I'm honored to be here! Ok so, all flattery aside, let's get down to business. I'm supposed to talk to you about what I feel most beautiful in. I thought about getting creative and meaningful with this--like saying something along the lines of, "I feel most beautiful when I'm doing good deeds for others and carrying myself with grace and dignity and style," and that would all be kind of true, but I think I'm going to get a little more literal. Because, honestly, I feel most beautiful when I do same damn WORK on myself. I don't think I'm one of those girls who wakes up looking beautiful in the morning. Especially if I happened to have slept on wet hair. You see, my skin isn't always perfect and clear and even, I have some scary-dark circles under my eyes at all times regardless of how much sleep I got, and well, basically... did you guys watch the latest Twilight movie? You know how Bella looks towards the end when the vampire baby is rapidly killing her from inside? You know, the grey skin, sunken eyes, and overall appearance of being near-death? Well, that's how I look fresh out of the shower or when I wake up in the morning. It's during those times that I avoid mirrors. So, I feel most beautiful after spending a good couple of hours bathing, shaving, plucking, drying, straightening, curling, applying makeup, dressing up, wearing heels, and, basically, appearing nothing whatsoever like my natural form. That, my friends, is when I'm feeling GOOD. Confidence abounds! I want to pounce my husband! People treat me nicer! (this might be my imagination.) I am happy about life! Am I taking this too far, Katie? Oh well. The truth shall set you free. ;)

I remember feeling quite beautiful on this night in Hawaii. It probably had something to do with the fact that I was a bronzed goddess back then, though, which sort of makes me weep as I have now given up tanning. My old-lady self will one day thank me. (sorry for the poor picture quality... this was taken pre-DSLR)
Thanks for having me Katie! And thanks to the rest of you for reading! Come visit me anytime. :)

January 23, 2012

Veronika from "Girl in Closet" Feels Most Beautiful...

We are starting off the "Beautiful" series with Veronika.  I've been following her blog since it's conception.  I love her style and attitude, and I'm excited to share her with you today!   

Hello, I'm Veronika and I run the blog "Girl & Closet." I'm so thrilled that Katie asked me to guest post for her today; she is such a sweetheart and an incredible friend. Yay!! I love visiting Katie's blog daily and reading her sweet & uplifting posts - it's such a great start to my day and the perfect dose of inspiration. As for the topic, "I feel most beautiful in" ...for me it’s a two parter. When it comes to clothes, it’s always a red lip, anything with lace, and adorable vintage floral patterns. They always steal my heart, and it's definitely the kind of outfit I feel the most me in.

The second part comes from the people I love and who I choose to surround myself with. I love kicking back after a long day with my hubby & pooch or with our friends. Usually at our home, we enjoy a fantastic dinner together and share lots of laughs. I enjoy taking the time to connect with the people that are special to me. Having amazing people around is definitely what keeps me smiling!

I also feel most beautiful in... natural surroundings with the room to stretch and explore gorgeous forested trails. For that, Martin & I feel super lucky to live in a stunning ocean-side community. Being surrounded by all this beauty and nature always lifts my spirits and brings a certain calm to my inner world. I can't wait for the warm weather to return - we had such amazing memories from this past summer.
Thanks so much for reading my guest post today, guys. Be sure to pop by my blog "Girl & Closet" - I would absolutely love to meet you!! And lastly, what do you feel most beautiful in?! I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks again, Katie! xo Veronika

On Holiday

I am officially out of the country on holiday in Costa Rica.  I'm either flying through the rain forest on a zip line, riding horses on the beach, hiking a volcano, or getting poop thrown at me by a monkey.  Hopefully, not the latter.
While I'm away, I have invited some of my blog friends to guest post for me.  Each will share what they feel most beautiful in.
Until we meet again - hasta luego.  Just brushing up on my Spanish.  "Me lamo Katie...Me gusta guacamole.'''  Yep, I'm going to do real bueno.

January 11, 2012

Happiness Is

January 10, 2012

Photo 101 - Aperture and Depth of Field

I receive emails asking for photography tips and thought I would try to explain what I think is important.  If you own a DSLR camera, you want to stop shooting in auto mode.  Understanding aperture, or the A or AV setting on your camera is where taking control of your photography begins.  I'd like to do my best in explaining this function.  Please keep in mind that I am not a professional, and everything I have learned about photography, I have taught myself.  So, I hope I do not confuse you, as this is one of my lengthiest (and driest) posts.  Please feel free to correct me if I have a misstep.

Aperture and Depth of Field 101

The main function of a camera lens is to collect light.  There are two main functions for collecting light; the aperture and shutter speed.  How little or how much light enters your camera while taking a photo will affect the overall outcome or exposure of the photograph.
  • Too little light = underexposed, or very dark.
  • Too much light = overexposed, or very white. 
  •  A properly exposed photograph will have just the right amount of light.
When shooting in auto, your camera automatically evaluates the subject based upon how much light is available and adjusts the camera's settings for aperture and shutter speed automatically.
If you want more control, switch your camera's setting to Aperture Priority or the 'A' or 'AV' mode.  This will allow you to control the aperture.  The camera will then automatically adjust the shutter speed (which we'll discuss later).

What is Aperture? 

The aperture of a lens is the diameter of the lens, that opens and closes when you take a picture.
Think of it like the pupil of your eye.  When there is a lot of light available, the pupil will constrict and become smaller, allowing less light to come in.  When there is little light available, your pupil will dilate or expand, allowing more light to come in.

The aperture of your lens works in this way:
  • A smaller lens opening means less light is collected.
  • A larger lens opening means more light is collected.
When taking a photograph, you can set the aperture of your camera to be very open, closed very tightly, or increments in-between.  The settings of the aperture openings are called "f-stops".  This is where it gets confusing because it's kind of counter-intuitive, but you'll get the hang of it.  Below is a diagram I created showing the relationship between the lens' opening and the corresponding f/stop.

  • The smaller the number (or f/stop) --> the larger the lens' opening --> the larger the aperture.
  • The larger the number (or f/stop) --> the smaller the lens' opening --> the smaller the aperture.
  • F/1.8 has a large lens opening.  F/22 has a small lens opening.
  • F/1.8 is a much larger aperture than F/22.

Depth of Field 

Which aperture you choose depends on the depth of field you want.  Depth of field or DOF is how much of the photo is in focus, and how much of the photo is not in focus.
Think of it like this: small numbers mean small DOF.  Large numbers means large DOF.

Shallow Depth of Field

A shallow depth of field means that the subject is in focus but the background is out of focus.  Shooting with a large aperture (small number) - f/1.8 - creates a shallow depth of field.  Shallow depth of field is great for portrait photography. 
Let's go back to the example of the eye.  Think about when you go in for an eye exam and the optometrist dilates your pupils.  The dilation drop expands the pupils so the optometrist can see all the way into the back of the eye.  The pupil or "aperture" becomes wide open.  Your vision becomes very blurry.  Your depth of field becomes shallow as you may be able to focus only on one subject while the rest of the picture is fuzzy.  Your vision also becomes highly sensitive to light, again, because your pupil is wide open.

Here are some examples of photos with shallow depths of field:

Notice in all three of these pictures, the subject is isolated and in sharp focus, while the background is out of focus.  All three of these pictures were taken on the A setting on my Canon T1i Eos Rebel with the largest possible aperture setting on my camera's 50 mm lens - f/1.8.   If you are new to DSLR photography and you have a Canon, I highly recommend buying this lens.  It is $100 and will produce these types of effects.  The 50 mm f/1.4 is three times the price. 

Note, that if your lens allows you to go this large, always switch it back to at least F/2.2 or F/2.5 when taking outfit pictures or pictures with more than one subject.  I don't know how many times I have taken outfit pictures on f1/8 to find the photo batch completely blurry and unusable.
Large Depth of Field

Shooting with a small aperture (large number) - F/22 - means that foreground, background, subject - everything - in the photo is in equal focus.  Shooting with a small aperture is ideal when shooting landscapes because you want objects both near and far in focus.

Here are some examples of photos with large depths of field:

Notice that everything is in focus in these three photographs and you can see all the of details.

Play around with the different apertures and see the different effects each f/stop produces on the A or AV function of your camera.  Go to the absolute smallest, to the absolute largest and every increment in-between.  Messing around with the settings is the best way to learn.

I hope this helpful and not too much information or too confusing.  It can be a lot to rack your brain around but totally worth it once it makes sense.  Next, I will be explaining shutter speed and ISO.  I will also post how to amp up your photos in the post production process.   

P.S.  Winner of the Stella & Dot giveaway is Jennifer Baker!  Congrats!  We'll be in touch.

January 9, 2012

Sliding Doors

Jacket: Bar III; Shirt: BCBG; Skirt: B44 Core; Purse: Gucci; Belt: FreePeople; Earrings: Fracesca's Collections; Necklace: c/o JewelMint
Sometimes I have these sliding doors moments where I think:
What if I had taken a different direction; just one different turn?
How would my life be different?
I retrace the steps.
I rewind through the years.
Regrets are evident.
{But wasteful thinking.}
Rather - I find validation; reassurance.
If I had missed just one thing,
I might not be where I am today;
made the discoveries I have,
or known the people I've come to meet.
I think it's important to allow life to unfold before you,
just as it is meant to be.
To accept what it is.
That is the ultimate freedom.
There are circumstances that can't be controlled.
There are things about ourselves we cannot change.
And our sliding doors are only alternate realities of who we could be.
Who we are?
Well, that's up to you and me.

January 6, 2012


Coat: Old Navy (last season); Shirt: JCrew; Pants: JBrand; Shoes and Sunglasses: BCBG; Clutch: Francesca's Collections; Necklace: c/o JewelMint; Watch: Juicy Couture
Whoa, it's my first post of 2012 and I come in on a Friday night looking like a box of crayons.  Maybe you remember.  When you were just a little kid, you had the opportunity to submit names to Crayola to be chosen as a crayon color's featured name?  Oh man.  I filled that out.  After thinking long and hard about it, of course.  Now, I don't want to blow your mind or anything, but I'm going to.  Pizzamataz
Just let that sink in for a few seconds.  Right?  Right? 
"Pizzamataz" for the color red sounded brilliant to my seven year old self.  To my 27 year old self too.  But.  As history goes, my claim to fame was never naming crayons.  Crayola never caught on to the catchiness of that name.  And besides, they already had a color ending in "-mataz."  So. Maybe I wasn't so brilliant afterall.  (That's my 7-year-old-ego deflating.)
On another note, I guess you could say, my outfit matches my mood for what I hope is to come.  And that is, I hope 2012 is absolutely colorful.  So coloful that I want it to be a - cotton candy -  dandelion - fuzzy wuzzy -  gold - magic mint - mango tango - mauvelous -  outer space - purple mountain majesty's - razmatazz - tickle me pink - wild strawberry type of a year.  Yes, those are actual crayon colors.  Wishing you one as well.