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The Greenbrier: Day 1 Recap

A weekend getaway with the girls was much needed. With everyone being involved in sports & various summer activities, it was difficult to find a weekend we all could go, but we made it work. It was short (so sadly, no golf was played), but a jam packed weekend. We visited the Greenbrier, an award winning resort located just outside the town of White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
We didn't have a list of things we wanted to do while visiting, instead we opted to explore the resort and do whatever seemed interesting upon arrival. We arrived late Friday afternoon and driving into the resort was nothing short of spectacular. When you exit the round-a-about that leads you to the valet and main entrance you are presented with a huge floral display in front of the bright white building. Let me tell you, Pinterest does not do this place the justice it deserves. I had seen pictures online but seeing it in person was so much more then I'd expected it to be. The landscaping is breathtaking and the d├ęcor is... interesting, to say the least. We had a blast just wandering around the resort and over the course of three days we managed to take dozens of photos.
I've divided the photos up into three sections (three different posts) each of which will represent one of the three days we were there. I hope you enjoy this (very long) photo post :)

Friday night we ate dinner at the Forum- a delicious Italian restaurant.


S/O to my sock tan :)


June Playlist

It's finally summer. I am so, so happy the school year is over & I can now sit back and relax with my friends & family. Later tonight I'm heading to a bonfire with my gals to celebrate us surviving another year together. I was assigned the roll of DJ so today I'm going to be sharing my top six songs on our summer playlist!

What's on your playlist this month?

Instagram vs. Reality

Confession: My life is not as glamorous & put-together as my Instagram makes it seem. To prove this, today I'm going to be sharing my Instagram vs. Reality (because what appears in the photo usually has an interesting story to it). ps. the majority of this post is food photos, oops.

 Instagram: I went out for frozen yogurt with my two best friends & snapped the perfect picture of our fro-yo
Reality: I tried for 2 minutes to arrange the bowls nicely then made both my friends move so they weren't blocking me light. Then, because I'm so short, proceeded to stand on the bench to get a birds-eye-view photo while a dozen little middle schoolers looked and me with a confused look.
 Instagram: Dining outside because the weather is so nice and had to snap a photo of myself enjoying the refreshing water that was in a very fancy glass.
Reality: I'm yelling at my mom to stop zooming in while people at the surrounding tables give me weird looks. I tried for 3 minutes to get my hair & sunglasses to corporate due to the cars passing by on the street next to me. Not to mention the photobomber in the back...
 Instagram: Enjoying a nice dinner on the patio while admiring the pretty spring flowers.
Reality: Trying to time this photo out so there wasn't any cars in the background was difficult. Right in the middle of the photo-taking-process I reached and picked up my glasses and then had to wait for the fingerprint to go away before I finally got a good picture.
 Instagram: Exploring cute cupcake shops & was able to snap a quick photo with the sun shining in the window & the chairs & tables perfectly arranged.
Reality: I'm standing in the doorway of the shop leaning backwards to get a good angle before the shop owner asks "Can I ask what you're doing?" and then I had to explain (while quite embarrassed) "Oh, well, you see, I'm a blogger & I this would be a really good Instagram photo." #bloggerproblems
 Instagram: Woohoo, celebrating summer with some cute cupcakes from a cute cupcake shop.
Reality: I'm squatting to get the whole display place in the frame while my dad is laughing at me. The workers kept walking back & forth behind the case so I had to time the photo when they weren't walking in the background.
 Instagram: Enjoying a piping hot flatbread while drinking an ice cold soda while dining outside. My food is just so photogenic.
Reality: I'm leaning in my chair to get a cool angle & manage to almost knock myself over in doing so. The waitress is giving me weird looks & at this point, I've learned to just ignore them.
Instagram: I love stops in the ice cream parlor & treating myself to my favorite treat. Life is just so good right now.
Reality: I am, again, standing up, hovering over my ice cream to take this photo while still trying to get the lines of the parlor table in the background. Not to mention, pretty much the entire population of my town was at the ice cream parlor.
 Instagram: Riding around with the sunroof open & enjoying the soon-to-be summer breeze while showing off my new Fitbit.
Reality: My friend Rachel & I are sitting at the elementary school pick-up spot waiting for her sister to come out & I awkwardly stuck my hands out the top & made Rachel take this photo so I could show everyone my new Fitbit.
 Instagram: vineyard vines looks so cute especially when I'm standing in front of this pretty lilac bush.
Reality: I'm standing in front of some random persons lilac bush on the way to my little brother's baseball game. Why my hands are on my head, I do not know.
 Instagram: I eat healthy food like this everyday. I love fruit.
Reality: I'm at Mother's Day brunch & standing up in the booth to take this photo. The restaurant was packed so I had dozens of moms looking at me. I arranged the fruit in the bowl so that every fruit was shown & had to have the bowl centered on the plate.
Instagram: Flower shopping is so much fun & I always look this cute & put together.
Reality: I'm standing in front of racks of flowers while I have a pack of old ladies glaring at me because I was standing in front of the flowers they wanted. While this photo is being taken the sprinkles start to go off and I begin to get sprayed with freezing water.

Oh, the things I'd do for a good picture. I hope this post made you laugh & made you realize that my life is not as glamorous as my Instagram feed makes it seem. Do you have any photo stories?

A Week in My Life

Usually I wouldn't be sharing photos from a week in my life because, well, my weeks are usually pretty boring. However, these past few weeks have been very exciting. With school finishing up & the weather being great, these past few weeks were nothing short of fabulous (minus exams). I hope you enjoy this photo dump from my past few weeks!

Friday evening my friends (Lauren & Anne) and I ventured out to get some frozen yogurt & talk about out upcoming trip to The Greenbrier in West Virginia. It was so nice outside that we ate our yogurt outside and obviously, I was standing up to take this photo :) 
 Okay, this has some explaining that goes along with it. I have been talking about wanting a Selfie Stick since last November so Lauren went out and bought me one as a late birthday present (my birthday is in January but I haven't gotten around to hosting a party, oops). I'm constantly joking about wanting a selfies stick and since we are getting ready to take a trip to the Greenbrier, they got me a selfies stick to take a bunch of photos & videos with while we're there. It's basically a cheaper alternative to a GoPro ;)

To clarify, I do not have a car which is why I'm constantly riding around with these two :)

Monday was Memorial Day so my family roasted s'mores that night since the weather was so nice. I took it upon myself to tie bows on the marshmallow skewers to add to the festivity (& it made for a cute Instagram photo)
 Mini Bundt cakes from my grandma since the following Saturday was my mom's birthday (Happy belated birthday Mama Prepster :)
 Friday was my last day of normal classes before heading into exam week & since my younger brother was in Chicago for a school trip my parents & I went to my favorite restaurant where we were able to sit outside. Not only were we celebrating me surviving sophomore year, but we also celebrated mom's birthday too.
(ps. my top is from TJmaxx)

 There happens to be a cupcake shop right next door to the restaurant so I popped in there to grab a few cupcakes to take home with us. I thought the little dining area inside was too cute not to snap a few pictures. When the owner of the shop asked what I was doing I had to reply with "oh, sorry, I'm a blogger & I think this set-up is super cute" #bloggerproblems
 Mmm, pepperoni flatbread pizza. Yes, it was delicious.
 Although I had just gotten us some cupcakes, we still ordered this Blondie brownie that was topped with vanilla ice-cream, smoked bacon & espresso sauce. It was amazing!
This past Sunday we headed to the local ice cream store to get some ice cream as we said goodbye to my Nana before she heads out to Montana for the summer.
Would you like to see more posts like this? Let me know in the comments below!

May Recap: Let's Catch Up!

Hooray for June & Summertime! I am so, so happy to announce that I am officially on summer break & done with sophomore year! As fun and exciting sophomore year was, I am in much need of a break. This summer I am excited to be back to blogging on a regular basis & taking several fun trips with friends & family! As I say in all my recap posts, today I'm going to be sharing my most popular Instagram photos, favorite quote, and talking about what has been going on behind the scenes of Northern Prepster!


 The weather was so nice this day that I was able to work outside. I enjoyed blogging in the sunshine & using my giant Lilly Pulitzer tumbler that my friend got me! (S/O to you Lauren)
Clearly when I was packing up my bag for exams, I was ready for summer & all the bright colors it has in store!

"always find a reason to laugh. it may not add years to your life but will surely add life to your years"

Northern Prepster: Behind the Scenes

It makes me so happy to look back on each monthly recap and see how much this blog has grown! Like I always say when I reach a new following, I am beyond thrilled that 800 people, bloggers, and companies enjoy my photos and have decided to follow along which is why I'd like to give a huge THANK YOU to everyone who is supporting me! In about two weeks it will be one year since I started my blog's Instagram account it truly amazes me how much I've grown in a single year. So thank you all, you guys are the Real MVP's ;)

(Sidenote: Yes, I know I've talked about my VSCOgrid for the past three months but I like sharing it with you guys)
If you're not already, you should hop on over & check out my VSCOgrid. Especially now that I'm on summer break, I'll be posting on my grid a lot and if you'd like to follow me on my adventure to the Greenbrier later this month you should definitely check it out.

A Glimpse at my Life

Usually this is where I share photos from the past month but since I have so many, I'm dedicating tomorrow's post to sharing photos from a week in May so make sure you check back tomorrow to check it out!

 How was your May?

Updated: How I Edit my Photos

After an overwhelming positive response to my last How I Edit my Photos and seeing that my editing routine is now completely different, it's time for an update. I typically only use one app when I edit my photos as it makes things so much easier. Adobe Photoshop Express (PS Express) is a free app in the Apple App Store that I came across about a month or so ago and it is now my go-to editing app. With the ability to adjust just about everything in the picture I don't find myself in need of other editing apps.

I've said it before but I'll say it again, I take the majority of my Instagram photos with my IPhone 6. Yep, I don't have a big DSLR camera or anything fancy like that (although I would like one). So please don't think that you need to have an expensive camera to have nice-looking images.
Editing Process
For starters, I always make sure my camera is set to take a square photo. I would hate to have to crop anything out because Instagram is only square-photo compatible. Sure I can add a white boarder around my photos, but I prefer my photo to occupy the entire space I'm allowed.
Then I make sure I have good, natural lighting. I tend to drive my mom & friends nuts because before a picture is taken, either of me or a group photo, I'm always yelling "natural lighting looks so much better!!" Natural lighting gives you a clean, bright photo whereas artificial lighting leaves you with a yellow tint to your photos. If you like that tint, then by all means go for it, but I prefer clean & bright photos.
After taking at least 15 photos of the same thing (#bloggerproblems) I'll open the photo in PS Express. For this post I'll be showing you how I edited a photo of my dog & the bright blue chair behind her.

 After my photo is loaded into PS Express I go to the filters tab (the three little circles overlapping each other) and apply the filter "Spring" because it brightens my photos, especially around the photo boarder. I typically adjust so that the photo is noticeably brighter but without seeming overly exposed.
 Here's what the Spring filter looks like applied. You can tell that the photo is brighter and it grabs the viewers attention more.
 Next I adjust the Clarity. This is my favorite part because it can make an IPhone photo look like something taken with a DSLR. I adjust the clarity just enough so that the items in the photo don't start to appear darker.
 The last step before I export & upload to Instagram is to adjust the Vibrance (saturation) of the photo. This is my favorite part because it makes the colors in the photo 'pop'. Do be aware that too much vibrance can be overwhelming but you can do whatever your little heart desires :)
Here's a few examples of photos before & after they went through this process:


 How do you edit your photos?