Monday, June 29, 2015

PicMonkey Tutorial: How to Make a Round Borders + Reader Survey

It's been a while since I've written up a PicMonkey tutorial! This one is simple, but I guess not a lot of people realize that they can do this. I use a round border for a lot of my photos. Primarily because I like my images to stand out a bit more from the others (guess not after I share this tutorial!) and it can also draw focus to the center of the photo without any distracting background elements.

You can see a prime example on my side bar to the right for my header image. I also use this image on Twitter and Facebook.

*Pro tip: It's a great idea to keep your profile picture between your social media accounts and blog accounts the same! Even if your handles are different, for whatever reason, people will be able to recognize you quickly and easily.

So let's get into the nitty-gritty!

Step One: Find the photo you want to edit, select and open it.

Step Two: Crop away! I'm showing you this tool because most people just drag and drop the corners. Picmonkey has tons of options including a facebook timeline cover, avatar sizes, etc. Play around with them some day when you have the time. For now, I'll select "square" and then move it around Starla to cut out the background I don't want (like my knobby knees). But keep it as big as you can, you'll be cropping out the corners in the next step.

Step Three: Frame it. Go to the frames option in the left navigation. Hit Shape Cutouts and then Round! You can edit around it, change the size, change the color of the background (I typically tend to keep it transparent). 

Viola! You're all set. Hope you all learned something new today. 

Also, a big thank you to all you readers who have been following along with Alanna & Company! I would love love love for you to complete my reader survey. Like I said in my post earlier this week, I really want to focus on writing good no-fluff content and would love to see what you enjoy the most. It's really quick and only 7 quick questions. Also, the plus side is that I will be offering a $10 Starbucks gift card to one lucky submitter!

To complete the reader survey, please click here

Once you have completed the reader survey, you can enter the giveaway here. You must complete the reader survey to enter the giveaway and entries will be verified. The giveaway will run through July 3rd and the winner will be announced after that weekend.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Say hello to this month's sponsor:

Friday, June 26, 2015

What's in my bag? & Giveaway

Some Affiliate Links: If you make a purchase after clicking some of the links below, I may make a small commission.

I don't know how, as a lifestyle blogger, I haven't written a "What's in my bag?" post. If you know me, you know I am a purse-a-holic. I actually put myself to Purse Hoarders Anonymous and banned myself from buying any new purses as of last summer.

So with great pleasure, I bring you, what is in Alanna's bag!

Don't let this picture fool you. This purse is purple, not poop brown, I swear.
So let's start from the left and go right. 

Disclaimer: Not all items are pictured here for neatness sake

Hair clip, neatly tucked on the purse strap for easy access. All girls need an emergency hair accessory. Whether it be a clip like mine, a hair tie, ribbon hair tie, or sock bun, you got to have one for those humid or windy days. 

Hand Sanitizer. I'm honestly not very much of a clean freak, but as soon as I have some hand sanitizer in my bag, I'm a lot more conscious about using it. Think of all the nasty things you touch on a regular basis. Don't even make me think about how many germs live on my iPhone. 

Mini Hair Brush. You can get this conair one at pretty much every CVS ever. It's nice because it won't weight down your purse and goes hand in hand with #1, hair clip. For us girls who live in humid places, it's a necessity!

A pen. How many times have you ran into a situation where you needed a pen but didn't have one? I'm also kind of anal about this pen, which I feel like most people who carry pens in their purses are. So don't even think about asking to borrow it and think we'll lend it to you without watching you like a hawk. 

Lip balm or lipstick of some sort. I always have an EOS lip balm on hand and a lipstick for color. I use Maybelline 14 hour lipsticks

Sunglasses. I think this is kind of obvious for summer, right?

Re-wetting Contact Drops. Like I said before, I wear contacts pretty much constantly until I go to sleep, so having re-wetting drops is necessary. Especially if you're at work staring at a computer for hours on end. 

What's not pictured? Hmm, lots. 

Headphones. I totally forgot my headphones at the gym when I took this photo. Headphones are a must. You can't risk having to talk to someone that you don't want to. 

Pepper Spray. I cannot stress that pepper spray is the bare minimum to protecting yourself. Maybe I'll write up a full post on how much I feel that women should learn how to protect themselves sometime later. Let me start by saying that the pepper spray is not in a mist form anymore, and if you still have that type of pepper spray it's probably expired and you should get rid of it. It is in a liquid form that sprays out like water, so there's no risk that you would ever accidentally pepper spray yourself. I carry one in my purse and also on Starla's leash when I walk her. The one I have is Sabre Red pepper spray and is police grade. It's hardcore. There's tons of videos that you can see how intense it is. Seriously, get it. Get two. 

Change and a metro card. Yes, I have a card and try to not take public transportation as much as possible, but sometimes it happens and you need to hop onto a train or a bus. So it's always better if you have these handy, just in case. 

Make-up. Again, obvious. But my make-up bag crowded the photo and I decided to take it out of the photo. In there, I also keep a mirror. 

Gum and breath mints. Sometimes you need to double up. 

Wine opener. You never know....

What does your purse look like? Do we share some of the same items?

And guess what?! Another giveaway!

Fine Print: This is open internationally, pending shipping laws/restrictions. You must be 18 or older, or have a parents permission to enter. This giveaway is open for exactly one week and the winner will be announced July 6, 2015. Winner must respond within 48-hours or a new winner will be chosen. Your form of entry will be double-checked.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Current Confessions

Hey guys and gals. I feel like I need to apologize a bit for writing a whole lot of fluff and boring posts (this one included). #Slacking. Life has been a bit wild and crazy, and of course I've had issues with keeping up. I used to schedule my posts out a week in advance and that is just not happening right now. I need to get a laptop or tablet that I can take to the pool to type out my posts. So here it is.

Currently I'm...

My gallery wall that I've started.
Starla's new life jacket.

The fact that my pool is about 10 yards outside of my apartment.

This blog post and writing up my blog post inspirations for later.

July Fourth weekend. I still don't have plans and need to get some!

I'm finishing up Ladie's Night by Mary Kay Andrews and then I'm either going to start Goldfinch or Ashley's books that she gave me for the summer book swap.

A new purse, more money for rent, some more wall art for my new bare apartment, more tanning at the pool, a new gym that's inexpensive. #alltheneeds

M&M's. Yes, I know it's not even 9 a.m. right now. #judgeme

Water, water, and more water. Gotta keep hydrated!

A new purse.

What have you been up to lately?

On a second note, my girl Ashley from That Southern Mama has just opened her Etsy Shop and has some great stuff! Since she's so awesome, she's giving away one free digital print. Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Linking up with this awesome group of bloggers today.

Monday, June 22, 2015

June Reading, Summer Book Swaps, and a Giveaway!

What I Read

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. I've totally been slacking. I finally got this book back from the library and was able to finally finish it. There were so many different story lines but they were able to juggle them pretty well. I listened on Audiobook and the narration was great. 

What I'm Currently Reading

Ladies' Night by Mary Kay Andrews

My Reading Challenge Updates

Total Books this month: 1
Total Books read this year: 12/75
Total Books Read for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge5 / 12

Lastly, I joined the Summer Book Swap with Chelsie and Ashley. I was lucky enough to get paired up with Ashley as my partner. We had to choose a summer read, a read that was on their wish list, and a book you'd think that they would love. Here's what she got me!

For a book that was on my wishlist, she got me Still Alice by Lisa Genova. For a beach read she got me Love Letters in the Sand by Diann Hunt and also The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand, a favorite of hers. Lastly, a book that she thought I would love was the Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks.

What have you read lately? Also if we aren't already, be my friend on Goodreads!

And now, for the giveaway!

Who couldn't use a shopping spree to Anthropologie right now? Luckily, I've teamed up with a wonderful group of gals to bring you a wonderful $75 Anthro giveaway.  Don't miss out, enter below.

Brought to you by: 
The Nashvillian | All The Joys | The Lady Lawyer
Mrs. Collier | Because I Said So | Hel on Heels | Alanna & Company

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond and claim their prize before a new winner will be selected. Entries will be verified, so please be honest. This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada residents only. Sorry, international friends!

Friday, June 19, 2015

What Does Your Coffee Say About You?

I would never claim to be a coffee drinker. I actually only started drinking coffee about three/four years ago. I however, am adept at judging people from a distance. And since I've developed a recent obsession with Chai Lattes in the morning, I've had much time to assess the average coffee drinker by what they order.

Alanna & Company | What Does Your Coffee Say About You?

The Latte Drinker

You're a hard-working girl on the go who wants to add a little sweetness to the daily grind. Sometimes you can be indecisive and tend to overextend yourself in an effort to help everyone. Following the crowd comes more easily to you than leading the charge. Your Tory Burch flats and Michael Kors watch go well with your to-go cup. 

The Black Coffee Drinker

You enjoy the simple things in life, and you're definitely not a morning person. Black coffee drinkers tend be wise and keep things real. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you definitely rock the the Resting Bitch Face. You're most often seen in a pair of blue jeans and your favorite button-down. 

The Iced Coffee Drinker

The most laid-back and relaxed of the crowd. You're patient and make friends easily. Not afraid to be a trend-setter, you march to the beat of your own drum. Most likely seen in designer sweats or yoga pants.

The Frappuccino Drinker

You're not technically considered a coffee drinker by most of society. You honestly would prefer an ice cream, but think a Frappuccino is a more socially acceptable alternative at 8:00 a.m. You're most often seen wandering into Starbucks in your college sweaters or sorority tees.

The Espresso or Americano Drinker

You are a go-getter. You have places to be and people to see. You know what needs to be accomplished and will get it done. However, you can come off as rough around the edges and moody. The more extra shots you order, the safer it is to assume that you stayed up working way too late last night (and should not be bothered today). Your favorite accessory is your iPhone with at least three email accounts linked to it. 

Regardless of your drink of choice, and the barista judgment (or mine), coffee is great and meant to be enjoyed. You do you, girlfrand.

How do you take your coffee?

Say hello to this month's sponsor:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Firmoo Eyeglasses Review

I'm not sure many of you realize this, but I am blind as a bat! I've worn glasses since elementary school and got contacts as soon as I started to play sports in middle school (aka I got teased and called four-eyes one too many times). 

I wear contacts as soon as I wake up and walk Starla to the minute I lie down in bed. I just don't particularly like wearing my glasses because I don't find them that stylish and I like being able to see peripherally.

Then, Firmoo contacted me. Firmoo has an extensive selection of eyeglasses that you can choose from and all the frames were very fashionable. I was a little hesitant at first about ordering glasses on-line, because I am super picky about my glasses and like to try on 100+ pairs at the optometrist's. Their website is very easy to use and has a Virtual Try-On that worked really well. I virtually tried on about five of them before I found a pair that I fell in love with. Since I was ordering prescription I was a bit nervous about inputting all my prescription numbers, but they even had an image upload option for your prescription. Pretty error-proof!

The glasses came in a couple weeks and were exactly as promised. They even gave me a cute case, cleaning cloth, screwdriver, and drawstring pouch. The frames I chose were plastic frames and actually feel more heavy-duty than my frames I bought from my optometrist last year. 

How do you think they look?

Do you need a new pair? New customers can get 50% off their first pair of frames! And if you are reliant on glasses like me, that's a steal!

Linking up with Melissa.

The glasses were sent to me for free by Firmoo, to review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Why Are We Afraid of Being Called A Bitch?

I am no stranger to the word "bitch". I use it in casual conversation, mainly because my vocabulary is littered with cuss words (sorry, Mom). I've been called bitch on a handful of occasions, seriously and playfully. When someone looks you directly in the face and calls you a bitch, it's not very nice. I get a heavy, sick feeling in my stomach and immediately regret whatever I had done or said to deserve that comment. But why am I so afraid to be called a bitch?

Most recently the most recognizable situation I've gotten myself into, where I continually worry if I'll be considered a bitch was when I broke up with my boyfriend. I recall saying the exact words, "Sorry, I'm being a bitch right now, but I need to do what's best for me." First of all, why was I apologizing? Does going through a natural process of a break-up make me a bitch? Lastly, why should I care if something considers me a bitch in that situation?

A ContentFac article says it best, "As women, our fear of the dreaded bitch label is so strong and so pervasive that it affects our behavior in ways we don't even recognize. It alters the way we communicate, how we speak and how we're treated."

I'm frustrated with being afraid of being called a bitch. I'm frustrated with holding myself back because of that fear. I'm assertive, I'm confident, and I know what I want. I shouldn't need to apologize for saying exactly how I feel or hold myself back from asserting myself.

I think it's time for us to reclaim, and reclaim the word "bitch". Oh, and don't worry, you don't have to be a bad ass bitch all by yourself. 

“Bitches get stuff done.” – Tina Fey

“Just because I have my standards, they think I'm a bitch.”
– Diana Ross

Nicki Minaj

“I’m tough, ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, OK.” - Madonna

and my favorite.

“Better bitch than mouse.” -Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Say hello to this month's sponsor:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Five Things I'm Wishing For Right Now

Affiliate Links: If you make a purchase after clicking a link below, I may make a small commission.

As you all probably know, I moved this past weekend! I'm extremely excited about my situation. I'm loving the new place so far, but it's been a whirlwind of things I need to do, need to get, or even just organizing the things that I already have. 

It kills me that whenever you move that you have to put down so much money up front just to get yourself in there, and then you find yourself broke! Of course, that's the time when you need to do the most shopping. Damn you pet deposits!

So here are five things that I'm wishing for right now.

1. Lush Mask of Magnaminty Face Cleanser Cream. In between traveling and this crazy summer humidity, my face has been all sorts of crazy. I've only ever heard rave reviews about Lush products.

2. iRobot Roomba Vacuum Cleaning Robot. I've been super spoiled with having hard wood floors for the past two years! And now that I have a little shedding beast in my company, I need this ASAP.

3. Color-block Bikini. I'm totally digging this look. I need to finish out my #BloggerBooty challenge before I can get myself in this itsy though.

4. Kyjen Dog Life Jacket Guess who's learning how to swim this year? I thought it might help with her confidence if she has a life jacket. We took her out to WV the other weekend and walked her into water where she couldn't stand and she was able to swim just fine. I just want to get her more comfortable with the water so I can take her out kayaking and on boats with me. Any tips or suggestions appreciated!

5. New, stylish nightstand. I found the above nightstand on Pinterest the other day and really loved how everything can be all separated out. No more hiding loose junk in drawers!

That's what I'm wishing for! How about you?

Linking up with: Friday FavoritesLittle FridayOh Hey Friday, High Five for Friday

Edit! I'm in this great group called Show your blog love, and guess what? I won the Blogger of the week award from them this week! They're awesome. If you want to join, shoot me an email!

Show Your Blog Love

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Girly Things That I'm No Good With

My life has been a consistent journey to figuring out how to be a true "girl". I'm an only child so, of course, my Dad always wanted a boy. So guess what kind of toys I got? Trains, cars, I even had a fully-rigged pulley set. I still had a couple barbies here and there and was obsessed with collecting beanie babies like any other 90s kid. I also was never allowed to wear nail polish until I was in middle school, and at that, it was only clear. So now, I'm going to use this as an excuse to explain why I am so very awful at girly things.

The make-up struggle is real. 

I only just bought my first set of brushes...Like two weeks ago. I mean I had a blush brush and one brush for eye shadow, but why do you need so many brushes?! Don't even get me started on eye shadow. I follow those directions and mine never blend that well! I'm a pro at the "au naturale" look. 

Shopping is a big, loud "nope".

Seriously, who treks through a crowded shopping mall, pushes past gaggles of teenagers loitering around, peruses through racks and racks of clothing to find one item of clothing and says, "Today was a fun and successful day!". Well, perhaps a lot of girls do, but definitely not me. If I can buy it online, I will be buying it online. If I have to go into a store, you're definitely not going to find me at a shopping mall. Hence, why I usually shop at Loft because it is a stand alone shop where I live! Also, who wants to go to those dimly-lit fitting rooms, actually touch your bare feet to some nasty carpet that thousands of other sweaty bare feet have touched, and try out twenty outfits that probably don't work with the bra that you're wearing. Nope.

Cooking for your man.

Hah, jokes. First things first, I'm not very well versed in the art of the kitchen to begin with. I was extremely stubborn when I lived at home and refused to pay attention to anything that my mom was making. So my kitchen skills include the usual Mac & Cheese, Ramen, Quesadilla, and then my one go-to recipe of Soy Salmon. I'm also a perfectionist, so if something goes wrong when I'm cooking, I take it extremely personal (instead of just blaming Pinterest for a crap recipe) and refuse to cook ever again. So no, the whole being romantic and cooking for your significant other only ends up giving me anxiety and being quite un-romantic.


I don't know if this is a usual thing for most girls, but if you were in a sorority (like me) then you better know how to craft. I hope that paddle for your big is the cutest thing in history, or else. Excuse me, you didn't paint a 40 quart cooler for your formal date? OMG no way!

Now, since I'm out of college, it's all about re-purposing old furniture. Do real people actually do these things or is it just for a good instagram? I try to avoid Home Depot as much as possible. 

Please don't hug me.

If we just met, I definitely don't want to hug you. If you're having a bad day, I'll get you a tissue, but no hugs. If you're saying goodbye for a trip, Bon voyage, have a good trip! I'm super awkward about giving hugs. Literally! Even with my best friends, they get waves. No need for all that unnecessary touching. Also, when I hug girls most of the time, my face ends up getting smothered in their bosom which isn't particularly enjoyable for me. 

Uncomfortable shoes, or just, heels in general. 

Why are all my friends so tall and I'm so short? I have an unnecessary amount of photos where I'm about a foot shorter than the rest of my crew because I refused to wear heels. I don't know about you, but if I'm out on the town and trying to have a good time, I am definitely wearing comfortable shoes. The majority of the time, heels don't fall into that category for me. Wedges, I'm down with, but I typically only wear those in the summer. I need some short friends for the winter. If my feet hurt, I'm grumpy and I just refuse to subject myself to that torture.

Who's with me? What "girly" things are you bad at? or am I alone?

Linking up with Humpday Confessions.

Say hello to this month's sponsor:

Monday, June 8, 2015

What I've Learned from Blogging Six Months In

So today is a bit of a special day for me. Today's post is post #100! I am super excited that I got this far and that I'm still 100% loving blogging. I started blogging this past Thanksgiving and it's been an incredible journey. So this is right about at my six month point. When I started blogging, I really wasn't sure what I had got myself into. I had always known about blogs, and frequently read blogs, but it's a whole different world out there when you yourself start blogging.

1. Blogging takes a lot of effort, time, and hard work.

For me, when I start something new, I plunge in headfirst and immerse myself into that project entirely. Many times, I end up getting burnt out but I haven't with blogging now. Regardless, blogging takes consistent effort and hard work to keep up. The process does get a bit more seamless, but it's still hard work nonetheless.

2. Interacting with other bloggers really helps build your network.
When you ask many bloggers what they like about blogging the most, they often say that it's the community that they enjoy. Seriously, take advantage of it. Network the hell out of yourself. I comment on tons of blogs every day and in turn they usually return the favor. Bloglovin' is great for following blogs but there are also great communities that you can join. My favorite is my Grow Your Blog group.

3. Social Media counts. 
If you want to get yourself out there, then really leverage all of your social networks. I rarely used Pinterest or Twitter before blogging. Now, those are my two most popular and favorite social media platforms. 

4. Deciding your blog platform is confusing. 
As many of you know, I switched from to Blogger. I won't go into too many details here because you can just read my post about it, but if you want to start blogging, really do some research before signing up for the first blog platform you find.

5. Good Photos and Images are Everything!
I'm really bad at taking my own photos. First of all, I don't have a fancy camera. Most All of my photos are taken by my iPhone and that's okay! I am also trying to be better about remembering to take photos while I'm out. Now I try to remember to take a few cute snaps wherever I'm at, and those can make or break a future blog post! Secondly, don't be that person that takes photos from google or Pinterest. If you do use someone else's photo, give them credit for the photo! There are tons of sites out there that you can find royalty free stock photos too! Last tip, make all photos Pinterest friendly! 

6. Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle!
I mean, I think you can apply this to any part of your life. It's really easy to check out other big bloggers and wonder why you aren't there yet, why you can't join the networks you want, or wonder how they can actually blog full-time. Again, back to #1 blogging is hard work, and it doesn't just happen over night!

Thank you for all you consistent readers out there that have followed me along this blogging journey! 

Do you all have some tips of what you've learned from blogging about blogging?

Say hello to this month's sponsor: