Friday Favorites

TGIF!! Here’s a couple favorite finds of the week!

Favorite festive find:

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
Chocolate Stout Cupcakes….Recipe Here!
Favorite Recipe:
Favorite Foodie Secrets:
Favorite Food Too Pretty to Eat:

Wise Wednesdays

If there’s one fact all of my food blog followers should know about me, it’s the fact that my ABSOLUTE favorite food in the entire world is chocolate chip cookies. It is the one the I can eat every day for the rest of my life and never get sick of (trust me, I don’t think I’ve gone more than 3 days in a row without eating one). I actually have some sitting aside in the kitchen for dessert later…already can’t wait to indulge.

Since I’m such a chocolate chip cookie fanatic, I’m extremely picky with the way I believe they should be (taste, texture, temperature, look, etc). I have tried several different cookie recipes (my favorite yet is one by “Crisco”), but I’m still eager to find what makes the BEST chocolate chip cookie. My ideal cookie is on the larger side (where having one is JUST enough…but you can’t help but have two), a gooey chewy center with slightly crisp edges, and a perfect amount of chocolate chips. Through cookie recipe searching online, I found an article that gives great tips towards making a perfect chocolate chip cookie. So here are some words of the wise for cooking baking:

  1. Butter should be at room temperature (cool)
  2. Cream the butter itself first, then add in the sugars
  3. Find the perfect ratio between brown sugar and white sugar to use (more brown sugar means softer and chewier)
  4. Add eggs one at a time rather than all at once
  5. Refrigerate the dough AT LEAST an hour prior to baking (helps the cookies set and bake better)

Following these tips and other sound baking methods should prove to provide the best and chewiest chocolate chip cookie…I’ll have to give it a try!

To read the full article click here!


Blog Screencasting…Click Me!

For this blog assignment we were introduced to the software application Jing. Using Jing you can create a customized screenshot picture or video of your computer screen and can share it with people through a link uploaded through the Jing website. I was extremely impressed with the usability of this software and luckily had no difficulties using it (unlike the other softwares used for our weekly assignments).

I created a Screencasted tour of one of my favorite blogs to follow…Lauren Conrad’s. It’s basically just your general girly blog with posts about fashion, makeup, decorating, etc. I gave my “tour” of her blog referencing the Dunn article we read for class about “interior design tips” to make your blog user friendly. I think Lauren follows all of these tips when creating her blog. She has a simple theme that’s easy on the eyes, has a header that describes her overall blog, her “front rooms” are explicitly labeled and take you exactly where you want to go, and her “garage” or “widgets” are plentiful and link to various parts of the blog.

I actually enjoyed using this Screencasting application and found myself talking for way longer than the suggested two minutes…oops. Hopefully it’s not TOO painful to watch or listen to for the whole time. Like I said, I really like the usability of this application and may use it for a variety of things when needed in the future. It may come in handy when needing to send a picture of a map for directions to a friend (like shown in the Jing video), or even if you need to make a tutorial video and send it to someone.


Blog Podcast

Hint: To listen to the podcast click the link and it will direct you to the google drive file and then click “download” and it’ll open in whatever your default music player is.

Hi everyone! So this week’s assignment for class was pretty much the toughest yet…to create a music file (podcast) commercial for our blog using GarageBand or some sort of music editor. This took an extreme amount of attention to detail and what not to attempt to make a perfect music file. Since I have absolutely no ear for music what so ever I found this to be extremely difficult. Using the program Garageband itself wasn’t tough, it’s pretty straight forward after watching tutorial videos for a little help. The actual editing and file creating however, was a whole level of difficult.

We were instructed to use two different songs that were to fade in and out and merge together using a technique called “crossfade.” This was probably the easiest part of the task (just simply adjusting the volume of each song to higher or lower depending on which one is fading out). The other part of the task was to record a voice file over the introduction song. The recording part wasn’t too hard. I figured I would start the intro with just pure music (no lyrics) and then once lyrics began I started to record my blog “commercial.” Once again, adjusting the background song volume was pretty straight forward so you can solely hear the voice recording over the low volume of the song.

The absolute most difficult part for me was “splicing” the first song. Like I said, I have no musical ear and it’s pretty hard for me to even count beats in music. I tried, but I’ll be the first to say that my splice is a pretty sloppy one. I tried to adjust the volume accordingly so the sloppy splice wasn’t SO noticeable. I guess this technique takes a little practice to get it just right.

Overall I think that my podcast is pretty decent for being a first time GarageBand user and by no means a professional music editor. I’m glad that we got to learn some of these editing techniques because you never know when you’ll need to make some sort of recording or podcast in the professional world or even just for fun. Hopefully with more practice I can get the hang of it.

Photo Editing

Our task this week was to experiment with photo editing to create a unique image to use as our header for our blog. I obviously knew right away to choose pictures of mouth watering food (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). The assignment prompt was for us to choose two or more pictures to juxtapose/merge together using the photo editing platform Pixlr. I have never used Pixlr before, but figured that it couldn’t be too difficult to figure out (I was wrong). I have Photoshop installed on my laptop and am pretty familiar with how to use it, but I decided to stick with the class assignment and try out Pixlr. I had an idea in my head to fade the breakfast picture into the lunch picture into the dinner picture…not too complex. However, it took me at least 15 minutes to try and get the first picture to be the right size to fit my blog’s header. Attempting to correctly size up and add the next picture was another whole process. After this, I just became frustrated because I definitely over-estimated the simplicity of Pixlr. I then decided it was time to turn to the good, reliable Photoshop.

I’m almost positive that it took me a total of 8 minutes to complete my fully edited header in Photoshop…I should’ve just started out with using this. Maybe I wasn’t patient enough with Pixlr and didn’t give it all the effort that I could have, but I definitely like using Photoshop much better. I was able to make all of the pictures the same size, put them side by side, merge the layers, and add some unique filters onto it to make it “artsy.” From here on out, if any other assignments in this class, or in anything else in the future, involve photo editing I know what program I’m turning to first…good ol’ Photoshop.

Starting The Blog

I’ve always wanted to be a “blogger” but I never really felt I was creative enough or had the correct resources and knowledge to do it (and sometimes doubted having the time to keep it up). Luckily the course I’ve chosen to take at Rutgers University, Strategic Presentation Methods in Digital Media, gives me the time and resources to start a blog…hence why I’m here. I pretty much use/have used all of the main social media platforms, but still haven’t had much experience blogging. I have attempted using tumblr, although I’m pretty sure I might have been the only viewer of my site, so I guess that was just solely for my entertainment? I’ve also hopped on the Pinterest bandwagon, where I mostly just look at pictures of food and recipes and what not (that should help me here). So we’ll see how this whole blogging thing goes from here on out.

WordPress so far has been pretty simple to set up, yet I still need to familiarize myself with all of features it provides. I’m kind of picky when it comes to appearances of things like this, so most likely I’ll change my theme, how I write, what posts I write, pretty frequently until I feel it’s just right. The most straightforward aspect of blogging is writing new posts; I have no trouble figuring that out. As for everything else, I still need to explore WordPress and find out exactly how to use it and design my site to make it user friendly.

Referencing the article we read for class, “5 Interior Design Tips to Make Your WordPress User Friendly,” by Bob Dunn, I’m still working on the construction of the front door, the main rooms, the garage, and the front porch. I’ll get there though.

Blogging Tips Anyone?