a photography tip: steller – where everybody becomes an artist + a storyteller

like we all need another app on our already maxed out smartphones. right? and like we need one more thing to take our focus away from real life + the present moment. right?

we don’t. our 21st century everyday life is already filled up with obsessively checking texts, Facebook, instagram, emails, news, and tweeting things all from our little phones. we do it constantly. so much so that it just might be a problem for some of us. i often wonder about myself. at least i’m trying to keep myself in check, yeah?

but, even with all of that information, and my unsolicited advice to take it easy with our phones, to put them down + look around instead of down at a screen, to go off the grid on a regular basis… even with all of that said, i am still going to share with you a tip about a fantastic photography app.

and even though this app takes up some more time that we could use to be doing something else, i actually believe that it is something that can inspire us.

perhaps 21st century creativity has just made art + creativity more available to us through apps like instagram… and stellar.

steller is a photography app for sharing photos, but unlike instagram that shares one photo at a time, steller tells stories through images. it’s an app that allows you to upload a series of photos from your camera to create whatever kind of story you wish. it’s a great tool for telling beautiful visual stories. capture that perfect weekend getaway you just had. snap shots of your outfits over a week, or share an entire recipe through photos. take photos of your favorite design ideas. the possibilities are endless.

click –> here to get a little sampling of what some people are posting on steller right now. i’ll wait for you to come back…


now that you’ve seen and explored some of the stories on steller, i’ll bet you’re as blown away as i am at the talent that’s out there. my inspiration soul is pretty much set on fire every time i look at steller stories. and, instead of thinking, “i can never create something that beautiful”, i find myself motivated + knowing that i absolutely can create something that beautiful.

so, here are a few tips on how to do just that:

1. choose the theme you wish to use // steller has some fantastic themes already ready for you to simply add your photos to.  just choose whichever you like and begin to build your story.

2. choose + upload your photos (a series of something that will tell whatever story you wish to tell).

3. choose the layout for each photo page // it’s super easy. there are templates for the theme you chose at the bottom of the page. give your story just the look + feel that you want.

4. add a new page to add some text to your story // it’s easy to add a page and then type out an fun introduction explaining what your story is about. but, it doesn’t have to stop there. add a page with quotes, or tel your story with alternating word + photo pages.

5. you can even add videos //  now, i haven’t added any videos yet, but i’ve seen some beautiful examples like –> here and here.

6. don’t forget to add a page for text as your last page // leave your contact info, some hashtags, ask questions. anything to engage others + provide a way to contact with you in other places around the internet

7. rearrange your pages // you can see your pages, move them around and even delete some if you want. then, go back and add more if you want.

8. preview your story, fix whatever needs fixing, and then publish!

9. it’s easy to find inspiration by exploring using the little compass icon at the bottom of the app. click through the collections that pop up, or search for hashtags. the stories are boundless, endless wells of beauty and wonder.


you can find my profile on steller –> here. or just click on the widget right over here ——->

i haven’t created that many stories… i am trying to pace myself. hehe. still, i have already been featured by steller a few times. exciting!!

here is my most popular story on steller. it was so easy to create, and it ended up being in steller’s top 20 for 2 days! click on the photo to see the whole story.

summer in stockholm steller-1

the most recent feature was when steller created a story to inspire others to take photos of the streets around them (steller often gives great tips and ideas, so be sure to follow their profile). the hashtag they asked everyone to use is #stellerstreet.

in their little instruction story, they featured my cover photo for my summer in stockholm story. so freaking cool! (click on the photo to see the story on steller – and my photo in it!).

steller

so, there you go. a new app for you to explore – and download, if you’re into it. you can download it from itunes  here or simply type “steller” in on your smartphone’s app store.

app or no app, we can all use a boost of in our creativity. am i right? and telling stories through images is a perfect way to capture a moment or challenge ourselves to find a series of shots and put them together as a collection. it’s like having a chance to show our art in our own little gallery.

of course, this can be done with any kind of camera. it can be posted on instagram, Facebook, emailed, or even printed out and hung on our walls.

i’m gonna invite each of you to join me in september in creating our own collections of stories  throughout the month of september. i’ll pick a few themes and share the challenges here, and then you can join me in picking up your camera and creating your own art, telling your own stories through photos and text. images and words.

all of us are artists. all of us have our own stories to tell. let’s use september to share that with each each? are you in? *more details to come soon!*

until then, happy snapping!

onwards + upwards! xo

// week thirty three // how to end your staycation with a bang

well, folks, that’s it. summer vacation/staycation has now come to an end. it’s the first monday back to ritual + routine. and, i have to admit, while i am mourning the loss of the last days of adventure + no plans, i am welcoming the joys of returning to regular life. mostly, i am excited about experiencing this indian summer that has taken hold of sweden now, and the anticipation of autumn + all of the coziness it brings.

my last week of vacation was spent on the road adventuring yet again. spontaneous, unplanned days filled with sunshine + fabulous people.

after our weekend in stockholm a week ago, we settled in at home for a few days. two to be exact. just enough time to sneak in some friends + family, and a few zola snuggles. then, we took the train down to norrköping – again! we spent a little time with family, lina and i both got to meet with dear friends of ours (together + separately), did a teeny tiny bit of shopping, enjoyed the august festival, and stayed busy from morning till night.

home again on saturday, but still filled up with activities. and then, on sunday, we made yet another spontaneous trip to stockholm for a free royal philharmonic symphony orchestra concert in a park featuring lina’s favorite singer/performer in the whole world. it was heaven!

so, here are my snapshots from last week! celebrating the end of summer vacation with a bang!

there’s nothing like taking a bottle of wine to a good friend’s home a block away for taco tuesday. am i right?

taco-tuesday

7 freaking AM train to  norrköping. and a big of coffee.train
hello, beautiful norrköping (fun fact: i once lived here for 3 years)norrkoping
free concert! symphony orchestra plays ABBA!norrkoping-concert
i loved seeing my soul mate, midas
wine-me
lounged in chairs to watch the meteor shower – and saw some!meteor-shower-august
i got a new (old) bike as an early birthday present! it’s really old, vintage, so retro + lina’s grandmother used it for years. i’m so excited + it’s such an honor to get it.me-bike-retro
simplicity + lovehydrangea-flower
deeee-licious burgers + fries. and good service too… in sweden! burgers-and-bangers
this never happens: an outfit shot. but i just lovelilove my new t-shirt dress.dress-me
sunshine. parks. norrköping. ba-dump ba-dump (goes my heart)norrkoping-park
american friends + bubbles! woo hoo!americans-norrkoping
sunset over downtown norrköpingsunset-norrkoping
country roads take me home – back to uppsalacountryside-sweden-fields
and a stop on the side of the road for some goodies, of coursecountryside-roadside-sweden
home!!! celebrated with some summer drinks made by my lovesummer-drinks-cocktailsspontaneous trip to stockholm! // we waited for the bus with about 100 other people. a bus that never came. so we hailed a cab, jumped in, and two other random women jumped in with us. we split the fee 4 ways + all got to the concert in a flash. loved it!
me-lina-taxi-stockholm
chillin’concert-park-stockholm-fika
so many people. so much sunshine. such amazing music.concert-park-stockholm-screen concert-park-stockholm
can you dig it?leisure-suit-man-park-concert
no more travels, zola. we are home now. xoxozola
settling in + resting before the new “year” starts. it’s the autumn semester and even though we are not in school, my mind just automatically resets. ready for new beginnings + new opportunities…sunset-uppsala
B o o m!!fireworks

it feels really great to get back into my routines. my trusty meditation rituals (which were completely non-existent in their regular form during vacation) and new habits (to be blogged about later!). i’ve got lots to share with you all, and i feel so very inspired + motivated right now. a break really does you some good, and thankfully i live in sweden, where a break from the everyday is something that is deemed important to a good life.

stay tuned for new rituals + routines on the blog, including photography, music, travel, and spirituality. plus, i’ve got some very exciting professional adventures waiting in the wings as well. and, then, of course, there are all of the cozy life moments of autumn right around the corner.

wishing you a beautiful week, lovelies. hope that it begins with a bang + ends with satisfaction, love, and peace.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

ten on ten :: august 2015

it just so happens that this month’s ten on ten post fell on a regular ole day in the middle of my staycation vacation. my love + i have been traveling in sweden a tiny bit, having fun day adventures, my brother’s visited sweden, and it feels as if the past few weeks have been exciting + busy – a calm busy, if that makes sense.

in any case, this month’s ten on ten post is filled not with all of the crazy adventures that we’ve been having, but the regular moments found in a landing day. a day after a trip and just before another little trip. just an ordinary day.

but, as i always say, there is so much beauty + joy to be found in the ordinary. simplicity really is what life is all about.

my wake up view first thing in the morning

view from bed uppsala

every morning, even before coffee (!!), i hydrate. it’s become a ritual that refreshes + focuses me.namaste water kitchen
so many photos. so little time. i edited about 200 photos in the morning. whew!
blogging home
while zola the cat soaked up the warm sunzola
then, we were both hot. so hot that she slept + i just sat there. melting. but, thank you summer, for coming to sweden!summer me hot sofa
to deal with the heat, my love + i went out for an iced coffee. and, you know, it’s no biggie that there is a castle in the background of this café photo. no biggie at all. yes, i live in a fairy tale.

iced latte coffee

a long, slow fika. the way it’s meant to be.summer me coffee
a walk through town to do some errands. and the river was crisp + gorgeous.
uppsala river
a long, relaxing, spontaneous dinner outside with family + friends at the old train station in uppsala.stationen uppsala

there is nothing like walking home on those long, warm swedish summer nights
vaderkvarnsgntan home uppsala sunset
bonus photo: i woke up to the cat meow-ing at 4:00 am. she just wanted attention. after 30 minutes of trying to get back to sleep, i noticed the living room wall glowing. i got up to see, and this is the sunrise that was happening outside my window. breathtakingly amazing.sunrise

“As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness — just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.”  ― Laura Ingalls Wilder

oh, and,  by the way, it’s treat yo’self tuesday! so do something today that refills + refuels your soul. something just for you! have a magical, beautiful, regular day, lovelies.

onwards + upwards! xoxo