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Be Adventurous

AllChloe GordonComment

What was your New Years resolution this past year?

Mine was to be more adventurous. To do more things that make me second guess. To do more things that push me outside my comfy little circle of safety. I want to be more spontaneous. To not make goals for tomorrow, but instead make accomplishments for today

coloradoadventure
greatsanddunes

I want to get out there and do things. 

And you know what? This past weekend I did just that. I have lived in Colorado for about three years and have so many things that I want to do here. I have a little bucket list for Colorado itself and hope to accomplish just half of it during my time during college.

I have always seen photos of the Sand Dunes and I have always wanted to go, but it’s kind of far, out of the way, and inconvenient to get to. 

sanddunes

This past weekend I stopped saying I want to go to the Sand Dunes and actually made it there. 

It was seriously one of the most amazing experiences. Two friends and I woke up at 4 in the morning and made it to the dunes. We spent a few hours just taking in the beauty and feeling alive. We all had things (aka homework) we needed to get done but getting out of our little college bubble and experiencing life made me realize how sometimes homework can be forgotten (like really really forgotten) and life can be enjoyed. 

sunscreen
emma

We were out in the sun and sand for a few hours and we were all a little nervous of getting sun burnt so we made sure to pack my Hawaiian Tropic® Silk Hydration® Weightless Face Lotion  so that we’d all stay hydrated and protected. Seriously, if you’re in the market for a new sunscreen you have try Hawaiian Tropic® Silk Hydration® Weightless Face Lotion . It literally has Shea Butter in the formula so it leaves you feeling hydrated and pampered — and we all know other sunscreens leave you feeling the opposite. You can find it in mass grocery and drug retailers and also online! 

hawaiiantropic
coloradosanddunes

So next time you feel like you’re in a slump of responsibilities and repetitiveness get out there and do something. I know for a fact that you all have something that you’ve been dying to do — whether it be something as small as trying a new restaurant or exploring your state — GO FOR IT. 

I’m sharing Hawaiian Tropic in my life as part of a sponsored series for Socialstars™
Thanks for reading! 
xox
chloe

Kentucky Derby Tips & Tricks

All, EXTRAS, RANDOM STUFFKim & Chloe1 Comment

How to Navigate the Kentucky Derby @popcosmo.com “Derby” in Louisville is not just a day… it’s an experience. It lasts a few weeks and there are more events leading up to the Kentucky Derby that we can list here. Our first year in Louisville, we were surprised, amazed, and overwhelmed with the parties, events, balloons, fireworks and airshows. There are official events for the Kentucky Derby and plenty of unofficial ones.

My first year at Derby, I had a million questions and asked a million + 1 people for advice. Over the years, I questioned even more patient people about their tips and tricks for “doing Derby” and below is the advice I've gained from them + my experiences. Mastering the art of the Kentucky Derby is do-able, with a few tips & tricks.

If YOU have any tips you’d like to share, please do so in the comments.

The most asked question: what do I wear to the races?:

  • The bigger the better, the louder the better, the brighter the better! But comfort is key and so is something washable since the likelihood of a drink splashing on you is high due to hours spent around drinks and total number of drinks you will encounter throughout the day (regardless of whether or not you will be drinking). Add the fact that you might be eating a picnic lunch on your lap if you are sitting in an outdoor box seat, and you have a recipe for a messy day.
  • Prints and washable dresses are all good options, silk is best left for the jockeys, and warm weather fabrics are a must.
  • You are only allowed to bring in 12” bags this year, so we recommend a crossbody bag (you’ll want free hands).
  • You have long days ahead of you with lots of walking involved, so stick a pair of the most comfortable and blister-free flats Yosi Samra fold-up shoes or a pair of flip-flops in your bag (your feet will thank us) and you’ll look like you’ve been doing Derby for years. If you can’t bear to change, wear broken-in comfortable shoes, and bring bandaids.
  • Bring ponchos if there's an inkling of rain since you can't bring an umbrella. If you wear a clear one, your outfit will shine through. Check the weather before you go!!
  • Don't over-accessorize. If you have a flashy hat- keep your jewelry in check. Conservative hat- play up jewelry.
  • Do not try to get a spray tan a few days before Derby. You'll be waiting in line for hours.
  • Here's a post about what to wear to the Kentucky Derby.

On Fridays we wear pink: Oak’s Day is Friday and is the filly’s race. It is just as exciting as the Kentucky Derby. Schools cancel classes and it had been local’s day, but now it is no longer a Louisville secret and is getting to be just as crowded and festive as Derby Day. "Locals day" is being pushed back to Thursday as more people arrive for the weekend to celebrate. In the past few years, the tradition had been to wear pink to honor breast cancer research and survivors. You can get decked out in all pink (check  out a Oak's Day outfit idea) or wear touches of pink… and don’t think pink is just for the girls! Guys can sport a pink tie or dress in all pink too. Vineyard Vines has a fabulous men's Derby collections.

Fascinator v. Big hats: Obviously, personal preference. I'm a fascinator girl -- something about being able to turn my head and peripheral vision (go figure). But, if you’re sitting outdoors and the day is sunny, a big hat could come in handy. Regardless, bring sunscreen!! Whatever you wear, make sure it doesn’t pinch, or slip. If you forgot to bring a hat, run by Dee's and they'll make one for you to match your outfit.

Calling all party girls: If you can party all day and party all night and want to support charities, purchase tickets to the Julep Ball and the Barnstable Brown party and mingle with celebs who show up for Derby and Oaks.

Dawn at the Downs: Eat breakfast on Millionaire’s Row and watch Derby contenders working out. It’s a unique Kentucky Derby experience on the weekdays.

Can we get there from here?: Plan on spending a long time in the car and consider it part of the experience. Unless you arrive very early in the morning, and even if you do, you might be parking in someone’s yard, so bring cash. Unless you park at Churchill Downs, plan on a long walk to the track, and check out these parking maps for Derby week in advance.

Some options to avoid parking by Churchill Downs (which can be a nightmare): park near one of the many bus stops and bus into Churchill Downs, park in the lot near Cardinal Stadium, find a teenager to pick you up and drop you off, or rent a bus for a big group, or take Uber, which arrived this year.

Food, food and more food: At the track – If food is not included with your ticket, you can bring a box lunch, but be sure to check the rules about what is allowed to be brought in the gates.

  • Vendors come around with drinks- order several. That way you don't have to wait in long lines, and next time they pass, you will be ready for another.
  • Remember to hydrate with water too!

Around Town – Make reservations for hotels and dinners (before and after races) as soon as you know you’ll be attending. Good luck finding either at the last minute. But, if you don’t have reservations, find a Louisville food truck. {We love Grind burgers!} And since many homeowners head out-of-town for the Derby and rent their houses, you might find one on VRBO.com or airbnb.com at the last minute.

It's Bourbon country, baby!: As the home of Bourbon, get ready to drink a lot of it at the Derby (but please don't drink & drive!). And while here, visit the distilleries, which can even be family outings. Actually the official drink of the Oaks is the Oaks Lily which is made with vodka; but yes, the traditional drink of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby is a Mint Julep, which is made with bourbon. Although traditionally served in a silver cup, at the Derby (and Oaks), you’ll receive a commemorative glass cup with each order. Keep ‘em and start your collection.

Tickets & Seating: We suggest buying tickets directly from Churchill Downs. You’ll get a good description of your seat and the amenities. Pay attention to where your seat is located - your box seat may be in a section exposed to rain or sun all day long. If you want to play it safe, make sure you buy a “covered” seat. If you are trackside, you are not covered, but you’ll have a great view. Your seats (unless you are in suites indoors) are folding chairs. There are six in a box and your “box” is actually a metal bar, so you’ll know your neighbors quite well by the end of the day. The fun of Derby is seeing the outfits, the horses before the races, the horses walking to and from the Paddock, etc., so wandering around is not only highly encouraged, it is part of the experience.

The Ladies Room: No matter where you sit, you will have a great view. But the bathrooms are what set everyone apart. Drinking all day means... long lines in the ladies' room. But don’t be discouraged. The efficiency of the attendants is the best I’ve ever encountered. However, if you are headed to the infield, byot. (Bring your own toilet paper). We hear they've been known to run out. If you are in the suites, enjoy the semi-privacy and no long lines!

What is the Infield?: No tickets? No worries! You can always gain access to the infield. While Oaks Day may not be that crowded, Derby day will most definitely be packed. The infield is made up of a partying crowd that’s come to enjoy themselves. You’ll have access to the Paddock area as well, but since there is no limit to the number of tickets that are sold for the infield, prepare for crowds. And if it has rained, get ready for mud. And unless you secure a spot near the track, you might miss the races, but you can enjoy the party!

All bets are on!: If you aren’t an expert in betting, read the program. There is a little tutorial and key in the front. You don’t want to be  “that” girl holding up the line, you want to be talking about trifectas with the rest of the gang.

  • Bring $1 bills. Lots of them… the lines to the ATM are longer than the betting lines.
  • If you win, it's customary to tip the clerk. (Supposedly it brings you good luck!)
  • Betting on colors, names and birthdays is fine. You'd be surprised how many people beat the odds with these bets - but don't hold us to it.

Misc:

  • Bring a phone phone for photos and a backup battery because service is spotty, especially if you want to Instagram.
  • Show Louisville some love with the Louisville Love app for photos, if you have service!
  • Bring ibuprofen or aspirin. With noise, hats, cigar smoke, heat, etc., you have the perfect storm for headaches.
  • Fashion First Aid has a handy pack you can carry in your purse of essentials you might need for the day. We kinda think it would be handy for trips too! It'll cover hat problems, heel blisters, armpit stains and more in a handy package. (I'm pretty impressed by how they have a solution for just about any problem I have!)

After you've completed all your planning for the best weekend ever, the most important tip is to sit back, enjoy the races, and have some fun in Louisville! It's a fantastic city to explore apart from the races with amazing dining, wonderful parks, a beautiful river, and the friendliest people you ever did meet.

Many thanks to local friends Natalie, Ashley, Christy of The Bourbon Blush, and Shelley for their tips, & everyone else I've pestered over the years!

 

How to make a GIF… without Photoshop

All, BLOG TIPS, EXTRASKim & Chloe28 Comments

GIFs are all the rage, especially now that you can have GIFS on Pinterest, and there are tons of blog classes on how to make a GIF using Photoshop. But since Chloe is so proficient on Photoshop and the best I can do is turn it on, I haven't quite made it to a class. So when I found out about imgflip, I was dubious, but excited. I tried it out and was so impressed, that I wanted to share it with you! Get ready to learn how to make a GIF without Photoshop skills, y'all!

how to make GIFs

Here's how:

1. Take photos that you want to use to create your GIF or use graphics you've created. Save your images on your computer and make sure they are all the same size. Tip: If taking photos, the key to a successful GIF is to either use a tripod or have very steady hands. If you will be moving items to create a story, then definitely use a tripod since it's almost impossible to get your camera back in the same position, even if you have someone helping. We've found this to be true even when doing GIFS for fashion or style shoots. The less jiggle, the more successful your GIF will look.

2. Open up imgflip.

3. Click on the Images tab (top left).

4. Download your photos and arrange them in the order you want your story to be told to create your GIF. To remove a photo, simply drag it to the pink bar on the bottom that says "Drag images here to remove."

how to create GIFs

5. Once satisfied with your photos, set the width to 360 and height to 360 for a square photo (or 360 for the widest or highest), quality to 1, and click Private. Then click Generate GIF.

creating GIFS

6. Once downloaded, simply upload it to your blog like a regular photo (although after using it a few times, it will give you an image HTML which you can place on your website). Both are super-easy. And voilà, a GIF… and you didn't even need to learn Photoshop!

Creating the GIF is free, but the size is limited to 360 x 360, and supposedly there will be a watermark, and ad will be shown. To upgrade to the Pro version costs $9.95/mo. But as you can see, there is no watermark or ad in the one I created!

making a GIF without Photoshop

Have fun creating GIFs without Photoshop and leave your links to the ones you create in the comments below. We love creating and looking at them 'em!!

xo ~kim