29 June 2012

Four Things Friday: the name game.

I am met with lots of confusion whenever people find out my photography venture is called "Anna Delores."  I get called "Anna" all the time which, honestly, doesn't bother me in the least, especially considering the choice I made for the name of my business.  Lots of people don't name their photography studios after themselves (Wildflowers Photography, Glass Jar Photography, Eye Poetry Photography, and so on...) but I suppose the confusion is because mine is actually a name.  Just not MY name.

So, if you haven't yet been to the "About" section of my blog, here's the story: the name "Anna Delores" comes from my maternal great-grandmother (Anna) and my paternal grandmother (Delores) in a salute to my heritage.  And it just sounds cool.  It sounds all vintage-y and that's what I was going for; heck, that vintage, antique vibe is generally what I go for with my photos themselves, especially the fine art ones, so it just made sense.

But enough about me.  I also love learning why other bloggers name their blogs or businesses after something unique -- the meaning isn't immediately obvious, and I dig that.

For "Four Things Friday," I wanted to share four of my favorite bloggers' explanations of their blog and/or business names!

Brambles and Honey (by Sadie Dear): "I want to soak up every day: the good and the bad. The brambles and the honey."

Brunch in April (by Alivia):  "Brunch is my most favorite meal. It is nonjudgmental; it allows for a productive morning or a restful doze.  Brunch makes room for everyone, no matter your preference.  Brunch is easily potlock-ified. And I love potlucks.  Not to mention mimosas, kids. Come on."

Roots and Feathers (by Laura): "I’ve always loved feathers, but after losing my grandfather at age 15, my family decided that he left us feathers when we needed him. Since then, I always find them when I most need them; they remind me of my parents."  I also remember a post (and now can't find it) where Laura wrote something about being so grateful to her mother for giving her "roots to stay grounded and feathers to fly."  She wrote it much more poetically than that, but you get the idea.  Laura, if you're reading this, please send a link to that post!  I want to read it again (and get the quote right!).

Lemons, Avocados, and the Bay (by Tammy): "We loved the house, but it was very clear that the entire house and backyard had been neglected for many years. Somehow we were lucky enough to find that a lemon tree and two avocado trees were still alive. They definitely needed some tender loving care and LOTS of water but they were still alive."  Read the rest here.

What is your blog or business named after? 


28 June 2012

guest post: Great Blog Design by Apple Blue

Hello, new friends! My name is Amanda and I blog over at Apple Blue. But my blogger hat isn't the only one hanging by the front door. I'm also a blog designer, future shopkeeper, small business consultant, sushi enthusiast, part-time Passionfruit intern, and all-the-time comedian.

Today I thought it would be fun to share three of my top tips for having a great blog design. These tips are my own personal opinion but they're also pretty widely accepted aspects of good design. Hopefully they're helpful to you!

1. Don't go font crazy! Learning Photoshop has opened me up to a whole new world of fonts and I am a bit obsessed. It would be so easy to plug in a million different fonts to my blogs design but doing that distracts from the actual content that I work really hard to create. When designing your blog or website, I generally recommend that you limit yourself to 2 or maybe as many as three fonts. You also need to give careful consideration to the colors and styles you choose. Many of them can be challenging to read and just because bright yellow is an option doesn't mean you should use it. It's so important that your text is readable and not too "out there."

2. Keep that sidebar in check! Aside from the sponsor ads you may or may not offer, be careful and selective when it comes to what else you add to that section of your design. You don't want to add things that really aren't relevant to your everyday readers. If nothing else, make sure it is well organized. For instance, if you have a lot of buttons representing charities you support or projects you're involved in, then create a separate page and only have one button that says "Projects" etc. This still makes the information available while de-cluttering your design.

3. When in doubt, keep it simple. You can't really go wrong with a nice, clean, simple design. It is much, much better to have a pretty normal blog design that it is to have one that has way too much going on. Focus on the header. That is your "first impression". A unique, fun, well designed header is a great place to start. Take your time to develop the rest.

I hope you'll pop on over to my little corner of the internet and say hello! Fun things happen over there. : ) Thanks so much to Emily for the opportunity to share this guest post! You can find me right here on my blog or we can be friends on Twitter under @applebluetweets!

You want MORE from Amanda, you say?  I don't blame you!  Check out her post about 101 ideas for blog posts over at Apple Blue.

27 June 2012

wedding wonders: Krystal's ceremony by the sea

I'm excited to welcome Krystal of Krystal's Kitsch and to feature her Florida seaside wedding with Anna Delores readers today!  Krystal's wedding photography was a top priority for her, so I asked her to share her experience with us.  Enjoy! 

I'm so grateful that I was asked to share my wedding pictures here with you as we talk about wedding photography.  I will be honest -- I was VERY picky about my wedding photographers.  I had no clue where to start looking, but I scoured local wedding forums and I even stalked a local wedding planner who featured fabulous weddings on her blog.  I sent her an e-mail asking for help and guidance and to point me in the direction of a photographer who isn't going to be a fortune but will produce QUALITY images.  She didn't send me one photographer... she sent me two! They are a duo, Caroline & Evan Photography, and happen to be husband and wife.  What better way to remember your wedding then having another married couple join you with their fancy cameras?!

Before the ceremony:
 My bridesmaids carried paper pinwheels since flowers just weren't happening. 

First Look


Our ceremony site was on the beach -- a public beach at that. I appreciated my photographers and their mission to make it look like it was just US out there. No photos were ruined with tacky tourists in the background. Everything looked perfect. Even the weather cooperated. 

THE BIG MOMENT ;) They captured it quite well. 

We threw shells into the ocean and made a wish.

Sure, there were posed shots...but those weren't our style.

That's more like it.


One thing that I loved about the photographers we selected were their attention to detail. That's what they prided themselves on. I really appreciated that. I loved all the close up photos of our decor, of my accessories, etc. I got married at the beginning of 2011 and it's amazing that here it is over a year later and I'm still impressed with my photography. It was a large portion of our budget -- in fact, it might have been the most expensive part! -- but it was so necessary. I'm grateful to have these images to look back on and appreciate in the years to come.

Thanks for having me!

Thanks for sharing with us, Krystal!  Be sure to visit Krystal to learn more about her wedding to Scott and their next adventure (baby on the way!) at her blog, Krystal's Kitsch.


WEAR on a Wednesday.

I know that Wednesday is the day most other bloggers do their "What I Wore" posts, so I'm jumping on the bandwagon.  For this week, anyway.

Back by popular demand (well, popular encouragement, anyway!): the Anna Delores blog outfit post!

Leggings: Old Navy
Necklace: Yellow Heart Art
Shoes: RocketDog
Sunglasses: Target

{linking up with...}

Rouge & Whimsy

I bought this AMAZING wooden camera necklace from Yellow Heart Art a couple of months ago and I am simply smitten.  Of course it has particular significance for me because I'm a photographer, but I also bought a Vespa scooter version for my best friend who LOVES Vespas.  Voila!  Perfect gift!  And such a great accessory, don'tcha think?  Thanks, Leonora!

Psst... have you entered BOTH the giveaways currently being featured?  Get some from Shabby Apple and My Life In Lavender!

26 June 2012

Giveaway from My Life in Lavender

I'm excited to welcome newest sponsor My Life in Lavender to the Anna Delores blog!  J runs a fantastic blog and is gearing up to open her Etsy shop this summer. Excited to have you here, J!

As a lovely introduction to Anna Delores readers, J is giving away a gorgeous sea glass ring, the likes of which will be making an appearance in her soon-to-open shop!  She also styles these rings so well on her blog's outfit posts (here, here, and here, for example) so check out her creativity to get some ideas for wearing your new ring!

Some snippets of J's fun outfits:

Now for the giveaway!  Up for grabs is this lovely sea glass ring from My Life in Lavender ($30 value!).  Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter; you MUST be a follower of {the Anna Delores blog} to participate in the giveaway. 

Be sure to keep an eye on J as she prepares to open her shop later this summer!

Good luck and have fun.  :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Be sure you're stalking J properly!

25 June 2012

Photography: shopping for an instant camera

One of my best friends, Vanessa, is getting married in September and asked me to help her out with a few wedding planning items.  One of these items is a photo booth that I will be manning during the cocktail hour between the ceremony and reception. 

Vanessa wanted to buy an instant film camera to use for the photo booth to double as a photo guest book, but got cold feet about which one to purchase and asked me to do some research for her.  I wanted to share some of my findings with my lovely readers in case any of you are also in the market for an instant camera and might be interested in the opinion of a photographer like myself.  :)

First up: the Fujifilm Instax series.

The newest member of the Instax family is the Mini 50S in a sleek black finish (they call it "piano black").  Simply put, the 50S has the best shooting capabilities of the Instax instant film cameras because of its capacity for controlled exposure (so you can adjust for light vs. dark settings).  Reviews remark that the flash is pretty good for an instant camera and the images themselves are among the best produced by instant film.  Drawbacks, however, include the size of the print -- with borders, prints are about the size of a credit card (which means the actual image is even smaller than that) and the 50S requires CR2 lithium batteries, which aren't quite as widely available as AA batteries.  20 frames will cost you $22.00 (a little over $1 per print).

The Instax Mini 7S and Mini 25 also give you credit card-sized images and preceded the 50S in release date.  The 7S gives you four manual options for exposure setting, while the 25 selects settings for you based on detected conditions (in other words, you don't have to choose or do anything yourself with the 25).  The 25 also boasts a "smarter" auto flash and an optional close-up lens, but also pains its owner with having to hunt for CR2 lithium batteries.

{ Fujifilm Instax Mini 25 and Mini 7S }

These all seem like decent options for the casual instant film user.  Expect to pay between $50-60 for the 7S, up to $100-125 for the 50S (depending on where you buy).

Moving on to the widely-accepted master of instant film cameras, Polaroid...

Personally, I'm totally sold on the Polaroid Z340 Instant Camera, but the biggest drawback on this one is the price.  The $250 price tag is easily justified, however: this instant camera prints better quality (14 megapixels) and size (4x3") on smudge-proof, water-proof, tear-proof paper AND stores images on a digital memory card so you can also edit and print later on.  There's also a digital screen so you can peek at your images (and crop or make adjustments) before you print.  You can print instantly, save for later, or both.  You can also apply effects like fisheye or Lomo modes and can opt for a classic Polaroid border (or no border at all).

Even with all these exciting features, though, I know Vanessa (and every other bride in the universe) is on a wedding budget, so I'm not about to recommend the priciest option without also suggesting alternatives.  The PoGo™ Instant Digital Camera - ZCAM is a nice compromise between the Fujifilm Instax 50S and the Z340: it has the digital display and editing options of the Z340 at a slightly lower price point (and from what I can tell, you can't save images to a memory card for later edits).

The final option I investigated are the classics: refurbished instant cameras made available by The Impossible Project, which saved the last Polaroid factory from extinction in 2008 (and thus continues to create classic-compatible instant films).  From Impossible, you can score goodies like a refurbished original summer sun Polaroid 660 kit or a Red Stripe 600 OneStep kit.  Prices vary based on the camera itself and availability, as well as whether or not the camera comes with film or not (though most of them come with at least a single starter pack of film).  Impossible also offers hard-to-find professional-grade Polaroids, but for our purposes I won't get into those details in this post.  You can explore for yourself if you're so inclined.  :)

Classic Polaroids can, of course, also be found on eBay and at flea markets all over the place, but the working condition of these will be a much bigger gamble than buying from Impossible, which tests the heck out of each camera before they ship it to your door.  I also found an interesting selection on Etsy, but the same concept applies here: working condition (as well as return policies) will vary considerably.

The verdict: Personally, I'd opt for the Z340 just because it offers so many attractive modern features and thus has wider applicability than a wedding photo booth.  In Vanessa's case, though, and for her purposes, I'll probably recommend the Mini 25 as a good "middle ground" option.

Would you ever buy an instant camera, or is Instagram on your smartphone good enough for you?  What would you use a Polaroid or Fujifilm instant camera for if you had one?

22 June 2012

four things Friday: letters & puppies

1.  Dear Starbucks Via iced coffee: you are delicious.  Thank you for being a viable substitute for the real deal so I don't have to stop at an actual Starbucks to spend $3 per drink every day.  You are appreciated.

2.  Dear Minx nail strips: you didn't deliver.  Shame on you.

3.  Dear Jenn & Ryan: just two weeks til your wedding day!  I can't wait to help you celebrate your new life together.

4.  Dear Freddy and Fanny: I am so excited to welcome you to our family, and so happy that Mom & Dad decided to adopt the two of you in celebration of Father's Day.  You are the sweetest, cutest little things and all I want to do is quit my job so I can spend all day, every day hanging out with you. {Meet them!}:

Linking up with Ashley!


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