Around The Hilton Chicago

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This past weekend was the second year that I make the treck through the snowy mitten to visit Chicago for the annual Chicago auto show. The previous year we stayed at the Hilton Chicago, but I did not do as much exploring as I did this time around. The hotel opened in 1927 which makes it a haven for beautiful classic architecture and timeless decor that blankets the entire hotel!

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The most elegant rooms that makeup the Hilton Chicago are the beautiful rooms for lounging with big windows to let in light and observe the Chicago skyline. I felt like a victorian walking the rooms of the hotel such as this.

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A little less down to Earth, but overlooking Chicago was absolutely gorgeous with snow looming over the whole city. Having this view from a warm hotel room made everything seem like it was just a picture in a frame rather than an arctic tundra below me.

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Speaking of the cold, this was my attire for the majority of the weekend in Chicago. They don’t call it the windy city for nothing!

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Nothing but awe can only describe the suites that the Hilton Chicago has to offer. I felt completely indulged in luxury for the weekend.

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As I explored more, I came across the International Ballroom which had these fabulous chandeliers! It is little yet grand scale details that make this hotel so marvelous and extravagant.


As marvelous as the hotel was and the snow to look at this weekend, it definitely did not feel the same to the senses. I managed to bundle up and catch this shot outside the hotel. Ultimately I had another splendid weekend in Chicago. It was the perfect midseason getaway where I got to pack up, leave town, and feel inspired again. I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s weekend and are staying warm. I know I’m trying! Have a good one!

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Ten Link Tuesday 2.17.15

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1. Mama Miss has presented five beautiful background hacks for your still life photography!

2. This interview by Tavi Gevinson is beyond inspiring.

3. Xandra Burns lays out her morning routine and why it works for her.

4. Looking for contributors to your blog? Here is a strategy to get you started.

5. This is the best business advice that Gabrielle Bernstein has ever gotten.

6. I have been completely raving over Erica Hart’s blog full of art and pretty things.

7. Talk about dedication? This photographer hides in strange places to catch the best moments!

8. A great piece on life writing on a regular basis.

9. Graphic designer, Shauna Haider answers a load of questions from design to blogging!

10. Feck Perfuction! This video explains it all here.


Photo Credit: 

Lot’s more links here!

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Review: Garnier Color Styler

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If I had to pick a latest obsession, it would have to be coloring my hair! I had not even touched on the world of hair color until the Summer of 2013 when I decided on the dot to go platinum blonde when visiting my sister in Pennsylvania. For over a year, I have stayed platinum but of course I have wanted to try new things. The thing is, I have not been able to commit to one color other than platinum. This is why I am completely RAVING over Garnier’s intense wash-out color styling gel!

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These color styling gels come in multiple fun colors. You can currently experiment with pink, purple, blue, red, and bronze. I have currently made use of the colors in the photo above and I have been obsessed with all of them. Of course, people have been using them in streaks, but I have proved they can be used for your whole head as well. For a temporary hair job, it’s great! If you still aren’t sold, they wash out in 1-3 washes. I was blue two days ago and I am currently rocking my platinum blonde today without any trouble. I definitely recommend if you have wanted to try hair dye but are not ready to commit to permanent yet. Have fun and get crazy! Tweet me @claytongerard with your new do! Have a good one! xxoo


Get your styling gel here

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Ten Link Tuesday: 2.3.15

1. The Laughing Medusa lays out how to create a daily writing practice.

2. This 11 year old girl is doing everything she can to teach girls coding.

3. Heres what Carrie Bradshaw’s Instagram may have looked like!

4. Bldg 25 lays out how to beautifully transform your shower into the ultimate sanctuary!

5. MJ Valentine tells you what you are really thinking when you are listening to music.

6. Xandra from HeroineTraining.com has 8 steps to loving life in the kitchen.

7. Ava & Viv has launched at Target! See Nicolette Mason’s recap here.

8. I’ve been drooling over the interiors in Anna Dorfman’s blog, DoorSixteen.

9. Interested in a short dress for your wedding? Check out this inspiration by RockNRollBride!

10. Tavi’s editor letters from RookieMag make me feel so powerful every month.


Lot’s more links here!

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What’s In My Bag

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It wasn’t until I started college that I realized that it was a necessity for me to have a bag for my personal belongings as well as my school bag. It is much nicer to take a bag much smaller in stature on the go when I am not at class. When not in class, here are the essentials that I taken with me on the go!

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  • 2015 planner from Kikki.K
  • The latest issue of Vogue.
  • My iPhone 5S
  • EOS Cherry Lip Balm
  • Concealer
  • Sunglasses
  • 2 Moleskine Notebooks, one for sketching, one for blogging.
  • Micron 0.30mm marker
  • iPhone charger
  • Starbucks Gold Membership Card

When it comes to getting around on a day to day basis, these are the things I need to keep me somewhat sane. Have a great week readers!

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Insta-Envious? Tips To Up Your Instagram Game!

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In the day and age of mainstream social media, everything is so saturated. It seems as if there is a specific formula to follow in order to receive attention or likes on your posts. Just slap a hell of a lot of hashtags and you’re good to go. The real inquiry is, does your social media following really matter if you are only after the quantity of followers rather than the quality of your work? If you prefer quality over quantity, I have the trick for you.

Do Not Be A Hashtag-o-Phile

I understand that hashtagging your posts will attract more attention to your posts on social media. Really assess your motives for hashtagging if you are an average Jane or Joe. Do you think that you will obtain fame because someone double tapped on your photo of cereal you had this morning? The answer is likely no, and please email me if you have sources to challenge this point, because I am honestly curious.

Stay Away From Default Filters

When we all started on Instagram, we thought it was amazing how we could create vintage-esque pictures just by selecting a filter as if we can generate polaroid-like quality. While the worn quality of photos still is trending, the default filters on Instagram’s app has become incredibly easy to point out, and even gives a tacky impression to your photos.

Photo Editing Applications

Since we have already established how boring default Instagram filters can be, I have some resources to broaden your horizons. A couple clicks through the app-store and you will be given an incredible variety of photo editing apps for both iOS and Android. My personal favorite is Afterlight. For an easy 99¢ this app is all yours with plenty of editing tools to spruce up your photos as well as plenty of more filters that are much better put together than Instagram’s default filters. A free option I recommend is Aviary which provides those basic tools for correcting brightness, contrast, and temperature of your photos.

Light & Composition

It is true to be said that some of the best photos you can produce need the least amount of editing. When taking your photos, you should always keep composition and the amount of light available in mind. Taking a photo with little light will make it much more difficult to edit leaving you with a mostly blurred or grainy image, and flash rarely can give you that same rich quality of naturally lit photos.

Adding Text To Your Photos

Another easy way to make your photos pop is by adding text your photos. Of course, you must do this carefully and with moderation. Make sure you choose a font that completes the message you want your photo to give. You wouldn’t pick a slab font to compliment a wedding photo. Overlaying text takes just as much precision as taking the photo itself. If you are wondering what apps can do this for your photos, my favorite text app is Over. For $1.99 you have plenty of options to add different style fonts and they now even do tiny graphics to add to your photos. You can even adjust text size, color, opacity etc.

In Closing

The main point of conclusion is to have fun with these tools. Try new things and make the most out of your photos. All in all, don’t just post to post. Post something meaningful or something that inspires you to create more. With that, have a good one and start snapping away!

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