Jeff after 2We've been super excited to see all the fun ways you're using the effects in the A Color Story app. So we invited one of our favorite photographers and A Color Story users, @jeffmindell, to offer up his best tips for using the app's effects in a little Q&A!!

Q: What do you think are the best practices for using effects in A Color Story?

A: For me, I want all my images to feel really bright, happy and colorful, but also very natural. For example, the lime color fog doesn't make sense to layer over a sky and cityscape, but for a flat lay on a table of the same color would look awesome! I wouldn't shoot an interior of a home and then add in a warm lens flare, although that same flare would probably really make your image pop should you move your camera to the backyard outside of that same home! Biggest takeaway here is consider your environment and make editing decisions that make sense for that environment.

Jeff after 5Q: What are your favorite effects to use?

A: I mostly use light flares and color fogs. For flares, I like 7, 8 and 12. For color fogs, it depends. If it's for a sky, I like peach, coral, mint, peony, sky. But if I'm filling in an existing color in my photo, I'll use any.

Jeff after 3Q: How do you go about layering multiple effects?

A: For my images with skies, I like to start with a bright sky to begin with. So if the original image has a dark sky, I brighten that up first. Then, depending on the content/context/time of day, I'll take that into account.

I try to keep in mind the natural color(s) of the sky, but definitely try and have fun with it whenever possible! In one of my images, you might for example see my base color as a light blue, and then I'll layer in a mint fog followed by a peony fog in an upper corner near an added flare. With a lens or light flare, the colors that come with it are warmer, so the paired color fog should be a warmer tone as well. Your end result will look more natural and typically really pretty (see this next image as reference).

A Color Story Before-AfterQ: How do you consider your light source when transforming a sky?

A: In the opening photo for example, it was really dark, so I brightened it up. Based on the shadows under the cars, we can tell it's midday so the sun is really direct and high in the sky. Considering my light source, I will layer shades of blue color fogs to my liking (I tend to lean more on the teal or turquoise hues vs. darker, richer blues). Then I will throw in a light flare or two on top of my color-fogged sky. This not only hides any imperfections I might have in the sky such as striations or graininess, but looks a little more realistic as we are photographing in harsh outdoor light to begin with. Might as well embrace the sun's natural glow I say! Here's the before/after of that:

A Color Story Before-After  Q: Should you edit your photo before or after you add an effect?

A: I will always, always, ALWAYS edit or tweak a photo both before and after I'm done and happy with my effects I may have applied. Once I'm happy with my placement of any and all effects on my image, I will save it to my phone's camera roll (just in case I want to use that as a jumping off point should I choose to redo anything!), and then bring the image back into ACS and test out a few of the app's filters on it. I generally don't go 100% on a filter but see what it looks like at 50-60% and adjust accordingly from there. By the time I'm done, I will have a pretty interesting before and after between my original and final images!

A Color Story App @jeffmindelThanks, Jeff! If you haven't tried the app yet, it's out now on iOS and Android! Go download A Color Story for FREE and send it to a friend who you know loves color! Happy Weekend!!  

Credits//Author and Photography: Jeff Mindell

DIY Choker NecklaceThere are so many trends from the 90s that I care not to repeat. I even have a few relics in my closet that I've been holding on to all these years, like a pair of floral bell bottoms that are WAY less cute than what you are imagining. But not all 90s trends are horrifying. In fact, a huge number of them I welcome back with open arms. Overalls, I missed you... Birkenstocks, c'mere... Crop Tops, 4ever... Even crushed velvet and Dr. Martens. 

And choker necklaces!

So this past week I went to the craft store, grabbed a bunch of inexpensive supplies and made my own choker necklace collection... to have and to hold! I'm so in love! 

Best part – you can customize this tutorial to your personal style and color preferences! Here's how it's done– 

-any ribbon or trim 
-2 inch chain length (add jump rings to each side if it doesn't already come with them) 
-1 small jump ring (4mm) 
-1 clasp
-2 ribbon ends 
-round nose jewelry pliers 

How toUsing your pliers, secure the ribbon ends to each end of the ribbon or trim (make sure all stray edges are clamped down so it does not fray). Attach your chair length to one ribbon end. Attach your clasp using your jump ring to the other ribbon end. 

Completed ChokerHere's what the completed choker should look like. 

See how ridiculously easy this is! You're limited only by the cute ribbons and trims you can source. So start hunting! 

DIY Choker Necklace DIY Choker Necklace DIY Choker Necklace What do you think? Are you going to make some? I want to see a photo if you do! Tag us on Instagram #ABMcrafty :) xoxo! Elsie 

Credits// Author: Elsie Larson, Photography: Elsie Larson + Laura Gummerman. 

Plant lady t-shirts are herePlant Lady baseball t-shirtWe could not be more excited to share a few new designs from Oui Fresh with you guys today! Like, we are excited x1000 about these new shirts, and we hope you will be to! 

First, raise your hand if you're a plant lady? That's what we thought. We are plant ladies too, although we've had our fair share of tragic plant baby deaths. Still... we persist on. Fight the good fight we say. :)

And this was the inspiration behind our new shirt that comes in two different designs. 

Plant Lady baseball t-shirt.    Plant Lady baseball t-shirt. Plant Lady baseball t-shirt.  Plant lady basebal t-shirts are here Plant lady basebal t-shirts are hereIt's available in a baseball style t-shirt in green – to show off the true Plant Lady color scheme. :) 

Plant Lady t-shirts bw  Plant Lady t-shirts bw   Plant Lady t-shirts bw Plant lady t-shirts are here And then we have the design also available in a classic white t-shirt with bold black letters. We changed up the font a little this time, and we like the subtle 1970s vibes that it brings to the shirts.

One thing to note is we are getting these made on women's t-shirts (as opposed to unisex). We had this requested from many Oui Fresh customers, so we thought we'd give it a try. Check the shop site for details on sizing and take care to measure if you are unsure. We are both wearing a medium in the white t-shirt and small in the baseball shirt, for reference. 

But that's not all! We have one more (little) surprise for you. 

Babe with the power baby t-shirts We're now selling our most popular t-shirt, Babe with the Power, in baby sizes!!!!! So cute for your new babe or to give as a gift when friends are expecting. These are available in four sizes that range from 3 months to 2 years. Check the site for details. 

All of these shirts are currently on PRE ORDER! What does that mean? Basically you can order now and we'll print them shortly after. Again, check the Oui Fresh shop site for more details. We wanted to try out a pre order campaign in the hopes that we can accommodate everyone's size preference. It's impossible to guess everyone's size, and so we're hoping that this will help us to accommodate you guys even better. 

We still have lots of other fun stuff in the shop if you're already planning to head over and get your shopping on. Also, you can sign up for the ABM newsletter (signup form in our sidebar), as we try to host some kind of sale for Oui Fresh monthly to give you guys opportunities to get discounts. So go sign up for that if you haven't already.

Let us know what you think of the new shirt! We're always excited to know what you think! And you can also let us know if there are other products or designs you'd like to see from Oui Fresh in the future. xx. Elsie + Emma

Credits // Authors: Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman, Photography: Janae Hardy. Also if you are a Springfield, MO plant lady and haven't checked out Schaffitzel's greenhouse you should! That's where Emma's photos were shot. 

Twisted crown braid (click-through for the full tutorial)  In summer I like my hair to be as fuss-free as possible. On hot days, I want to go swimming, and taking ages to blow dry my hair afterwards seems like a waste of time. Instead I've found a few braids I can make with wet hair that look pretty but take next to no time. My favorite by far is the twisted crown braid. Crown braids are so lovely but can be a bit tricky to manage (at least for me!), but I've found that wet hair makes it a lot easier to learn this style.

Twisted crown braid (click-through for the full tutorial)Step One: Brush your hair thoroughly. (Wet hair optional, but I personally find it so much easier to do this style with wet hair!)

Step Two: Take two small sections towards the top of your head.

Step Three: Twist these sections toward the front of your face and cross the sections back towards the back of your head.

Step Four: Take the section closer to the front of your face and add some hair to it, twist it towards your face and cross it back towards the back of your head.

Step Five: Take the section of hair that is now towards the front, add some hair and twist it away towards the back of your head again.

Step Six: Continue this process, keeping the twist tight and close to your scalp.

Step Seven: When you get towards the front of your head again, finish off with a simple rope braid.

Step Eight: Take the braid around the crown of your head and pin it in place with a few bobby pins. 

Twisted crown braid (click-through for the full tutorial) That's it! It looks quite fancy, but in reality is pretty easy once you get the knack of it – although my braid always looks better and tighter when I do it with wet hair than when I attempt this with dry hair! If the crown braid is too hard, start with a simple rope braid and work your way up to this style when you get more comfortable with the technique. Bonus: if you leave your hair like this until it dries, it will also give you some nice curls when you let it down. Cheers, Rebecca.

Credits//Author and Photography: Rebecca Stice. 

Make your own natural shower spray! (click through for tutorial)I think you tend to learn most of your main cooking and cleaning habits from whatever you saw your parents do (or not do) growing up. While I have been trying to make a lot of healthy changes in my life in recent years and opt for more nontoxic options, I never really relied on some of the more harsher chemicals to clean my house, and I'm pretty sure that's mostly because that's how my mom cleaned our home growing up. I clean most surfaces with simple soap and water whenever I can get away with it and only pull out the chemicals when something really calls for it (although I'm looking for natural solutions to those situations now too).

This house has the first tiled shower that we've ever had (usually it's the one-piece white plastic shower situation), and I've noticed that the tile and grout seem to have a much greater potential for mildew buildup than the other showers did. The shower also has a dark, multi-colored brown tile (not my favorite as you can imagine), which makes it extra hard to spot mildew buildup as it appears (I used Elsie's beautiful new shower for the pics in this post though – isn't it dreamy?). Thankfully, you can use a shower spray between each shower to help cut down on bacteria growing in the shower and have longer periods between more deep cleanings. And the best part of making this shower spray at home is that it's all natural too!

Make your own natural shower spray! (click through for tutorial)   Natural Shower Spray, makes 2 cups
1 cup water
1 cup white distilled vinegar
10 drops tea tree essential oil* (You can add a few drops of lemon essential oil* to this too if you want a lemony fresh smell.)
spray bottle (you can use a cute plant mister or a larger spray bottle as well)

*Note: There is debate over certain animals (cats especially) coming in contact with too much of certain essential oils like lemon and tea tree. To be honest, there is a very wide range of opinions on what is safe or not safe, so make sure to look up what essential oils you want to use and see if they are OK for your pets. If you are nervous about using the oils in this recipe, then no biggie! Just use the water and vinegar and you will still have a wonderful natural spray that will just be a bit stronger on the vinegar smell.)

Make your own natural shower spray! (click through for tutorial)     Add the water and vinegar to your spray bottle and then drop in your essential oils. Give the bottle a shake to combine, and you're ready to clean! Just spray the walls and door of your shower after each use to keep it cleaner longer.

Make your own natural shower spray! (click through for tutorial)  Make your own natural shower spray! (click through for tutorial)  The tea tree oil is antibacterial, anti-fungal & antiseptic, and the vinegar is a great disinfectant. So they work well together hand in hand. It's best to keep items with essential oils in dark colored containers to preserve them unless they are stored in a cabinet or a dark space when not in use. Like I said, this doesn't replace your routine deep cleanings (and you don't want to use vinegar on natural stone tiles as it can eat away the stone over time), but it should help increase the time between cleanings and allow less buildup in general. Do you have any natural shower cleaning tips that you love to use? xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. 


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