Something’s Changed!

Candidly Kelsey Moved to WordPress!

What’s that weird chill in the air? The sudden silence? The slight smell of WordPress? The slightly unnerving feeling that everything is completely different?

Man, you’re intuitive.

Because I’ve moved! Kind of! is now self-hosted! (Pause for roaring applause.)

I made the jump from Blogger to WordPress yesterday/last night/this morning and we have finally landed. It was many, many, many hours of blood, sweat and finger calluses from pounding on my keyboard, but I finally did it and now everything on this website is mine. Mine. Mine. Mine!

So in case you notice that things look a teensy bit different format-wise, this is why.  I am slightly unfamiliar with WordPress, so bare with me while I get my bearings and get everything back to normal functions around here.

That’s all. Just wanted to share my super-smart tech victory with everyone.  Now I’m off to go nurse my hangover with a sweet potato hashbrown dish I just ordered that I definitely can’t afford to splurge on. #SUNDAY

Also, don’t forget:

Follow my blog with Bloglovin!

xo, kelsey (2)

How I Edit My Blog Pictures

Also known as “Kelsey’s Rachet Media School”

Welcome. My name is Kelsey, and I am your Professor.  Sit back, relax, and sip your coffee while I show you how to my favorite picture editing apps and how to use them to edit your pictures like a total pro. Or something.

How To Edit Blog Pictures Online For Free | Candidly Kelsey

1. I take pictures with my trusty iPhone 5s.  The camera is only so-so, and my photography skills are even less than. So make sure you have plenty of natural light, and also make sure to take at least 15,000 pictures at different angles.  At least one of them has to be in focus, right?

2. Then import picture into the editing apps I keep on my phone.  Depending on the picture I will do the following:

ALWAYS: Edit it in my favorite picture editing app called Afterlight. Here I will crop slightly, rotate it, adjust the brightness, exposure, shadow, highlight, or temperature, depending on what is needed. I always boost the contrast to make the colors pop.

THEN, if the picture has a lot of white space, I will then import the newly edited image into another picture editing app called Snapseed. Using the “Selective” tool you can adjust the brightness in individual areas by swiping left or right across the screen. Just click and place the little circle on the area you want to edit. You can also adjust the size area that you are editing by pinching the screen and zooming in or out. This can help make white backgrounds brighter, and be super useful if your lighting is uneven or heavily shadowed.

How to Edit Blog Pictures For Free | Candidly Kelsey

3. Then, I email the picture to myself from my phone so I can import it to my computer.

4. After downloading the image onto my computer, I then open the image on

Here is where I do final resizing and cropping to fit my blog format, tweak brightness, exposure, highlights, and contrast a bit more as needed.

If it is a relatively simple image, like shown below, I add the writing using the text option.  I always make sure I am using the same fonts, and same colors that go with my blog theme.  When finished, I save the image to my computer and then I’m done!

How To Edit Blog Pictures Online For Free | Candidly Kelsey

5.  However, if it’s a more complicated image, like a chart, or something I want a more detailed design on it, I will then open the image in

Canva has a ton of free options to create more complicated designs on images.  For example, I used the tools on Canva to help create blank blank blank, as shown below.

What’s especially great about Canva is that it has a ton of templates already created for free.  If you ever get stuck and need an idea, it’s really easy to grab one of their pre-made images and adjust it to your brand.

Once I create an image that I am happy with, I name it and download it as a PNG file.  And voila, you have an image for your blog post.

How To Edit Blog Pictures Online For Free | Candidly Kelsey

See, now wasn’t that easy? Only 3-5 different picture editing apps, and two different electronic devices, and you got yourself a snappy image.  Only a little complicated, but all totally free online photo editing  — which is my favorite part.

Anyone else use these apps, or would be interested in a tutorial on any of them? Let me know! I not only use them for my blog, but also to create the marketing material for my day-job, so it really can be used to make great images if you take your time.  It would really pay off to become comfortable with these websites and all they can do.

Happy editing!

xo, kelsey (2)

Blog Goals for 2016

2016 Blog Goals
Alright, I’ll give.  I have hopes and dreams, and I’m not afraid to talk about it.  Here are my blogging goals for 2016:

Reach 100,000 views.  I want this for no other reason than I think it would be cool, and to feed my ego. Not sorry.

Start working a week ahead, and follow an editorial calendar.  I have struggled with posting on a schedule, and have missed at least one post per week for the past few weeks due to poor planning.  I’d like to continue posting at least 3 times per week, but want to work up to being at least a week ahead on blog posts so that if time does get the best of me– as it usually does– it won’t ruin things.  And having an editorial calendar will be far more organized than my current system of having 500 half-finished posts saved as “drafts”.

Do make-up tutorial posts or make-up look videos. A lot of my friends ask me for make-up advice now and I really do love talking about it, so I think it’d be really fun! And some things are so much easier to explain on video than in writing.

Start a newsletter. I’m late to the blogging game on this one, but I thought it’d be useless to start a newsletter if I can’t post consistently enough to use the newsletter  I mean, I could fill the blank space with knock-knock jokes, but that might get old pretty quick. Or not.  Maybe I should try it?

Do more personal posts.  I loooove reading personal posts on other blogs, so why not do more of my own on here? If I like reading them, I’m sure there are others who would like reading them too.  Plus I love to over share my life anyway. See my Twitter and Snapchat (@iamkelskels) if you don’t believe me.  I’m thinking 1-2 more personal posts per month would be a good start.

Register with a blogging network so I can go to in-person events.  That’s the beauty of living in a major city now: there are tons of things like this around Chicago. I need more real friends who blog too so I can stop calling and talking to my mom about things she doesn’t understand.  If you’re a Chicago blogger and want to be my friend, let me know! Let’s go get lattes and then Instagram them!

Become fluent in Google Analytics.  This is something I have been wanting to do since I started this damn thing, but still have yet to invest time in.  I don’t understand how to read Google Analytics, and I need to.  If anyone has tutorials, please let me know! I’d like to be able to start tracking my growth using more than just my social media stats and Blogger page view count.

Professionalize my blog.  I’d like to get some real pictures taken of me (not iPhone selfies) that I can use for branding, as well as have an expert take a look at my theme and simplify it all.  I’m sure my DIY attempts to do my own theme for free up has made my site run slower than it should, so I’d like to see if having it professionally done could make things run faster.  Because we need that instant gratification, ya know?

And that’s all.  Goodbye 2015, you’ve been good to me, but I have big dreams for 2016.  Think good thoughts for me and my work ethic!

Have any blog goals? Leave them in the comments, or leave a link to your 2016 Blog Goal post too! I’d love to read them.


xo, kelsey (2)

Current Favorites + Blogging Ads Sale!

Man, life has a way of being super busy without you noticing, huh?

I never thought working from home, and also attempting to have a social life while trying to maintain my blog would take up so much time.  Factor in another monster cold (seriously– the second one in 3 months, get it together, immune system!) and I feel like I don’t even have time to stop and breath.  And the cold isn’t helping with the whole “breathing” thing, either.

I have, however, been trying some new stuff, re-loving some old favorites, and just generally have feelings about things that I thought I’d share.  You’re welcome.

Let's talk about blogging ads! Advertise with Candidly Kelsey, a lifestyle + beauty + health and DIY blog! //

Vanilla lattes.  I don’t know why, but I wake up craving them, and go to bed thinking about them.  My Starbucks budget is a wiiiiiitle bit outrageous at the moment. #redcups

Cooking in bulk.  Last week I made a delicious Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff from Budget Bytes.  I changed it up by adding some peas, swapping the sour cream for milk, and using whole grain egg noodles.  I ate it for lunch and dinner for about 4 days.  Great budget recipe!  Yesterday I made a crockpot Chicken and Dumplings from a family recipe.  I’m eating well, guys.

Spotify Michael Buble` “Christmas” album.  No shame in my Christmas-in-November-game. There is just something about Christmas music that makes me insanely happy.  I actually caught two cops sitting at my table in Starbucks yesterday laughing at me dancing along.  Sorry not sorry “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” is just SO catchy.  I launched the social media for work this week, and have been using a combination of and to make all of our graphics.  PicMonkey is great for making font-specific graphics, and then Canva is really great with the free resources to make professional looking image graphics.  If you ever need a free online picture resource, or a free picture editing site, I highly recommend them both.

Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Green Tea.  It’s decaffeinated, and naturally sweet. It’s a great bed-time tea, which has doubled with the peppermint helping my sore throat.

Helene in Between.  From her free webinars to the Quit Your Job To Blog e-course, she has become to my go-to for blogging resources.

I haven’t been posting a lot (clearly) but I’ve been doing a lot of behind the scenes stuff for my blog, almost all of it inspired by Helene.  Her blog,, and e-course website is basically my go-to gospel when it comes to questions about blogging.  If you haven’t checked her blog out yet, I highly encourage it.  Her e-course is amazing, and has inspired so much great change for my blog, and future plans to really help make it more legitimate.  The best part of her e-course (other than the great info) is that she updates it all the time, so as she gets new ideas and learns new things herself, she updates the course.  It’s basically like going to blog school for life.

But speaking of behind the scenes stuff for me, the newest development is I’ve gotten into the blogging ads game, and you can purchase ad space on Candidly Kelsey!  Side bar ads, sponsored posts, other blogging ads, and social media shout-outs are up for sale. I am also more than happy to do side-bar ad swaps fo’ FREEEEEEE! If you have a blog and wanna swap ads, check it out! Let’s work together! 🙂

And, for those of you noticed, I’ve got Kristen from The Everyday Grace and Michelle from Blogslikeagirl as the first on my sidebar this month!  Kristen has a really thoughtful post about World Kindness Day up today, and Michelle is making me really miss having cable with her best MTV shows.  Go show them some love!

Peace, love, blogging!

PS.  I’m giving away The Body Shop 24 Happy Days Advent calendar.  Giveaway ends on the 21st.  Have you entered yet?

xo, kelsey (2)

Total Blogger Problems

Total Blogger Problems | Candidly Kelsey

I’ve been struggling with blogging lately.  Either I can’t find inspiration, or if I do have the inspiration, I can’t make the idea work with my resources.  And then I can’t figure out how to hack my resources to make it all work, so instead I say “F*ck it” and just end up closing my blog and pouring a glass of wine.

Which, I’m sure, is familiar for a lot of people.  Isn’t it funny how something you love so much can also make you so, so angry?

Today especially.  I spent time and effort on a DIY bloody fingertips manicure.  I was proud of it, so obviously I needed to Instagram it because #basic.

Unfortunately, it’s super gross and cloudy today, so any natural lighting for the picture is a bust.  I turned on my back-up system: two photography table lights to help break up the yellow tint of my apartment lighting and get a better photo.  Unfortunately, still couldn’t get a picture I liked.   (My hands photograph weird.  Does anyone else think their hands photograph weird? Please tell me this isn’t just a problem I have.)

Moved onto Plan B: Pumpkin/Nail Selfie.

Total Blogger Problems | Candidly Kelsey

Not too bad, but the picture needs editing. No problem, right?

WRONG, because I. Suck. At. Editing. Pictures.

I have 3 editing apps I use to color correct and what-not on my phone.  You would think that between THREE apps, I could get a picture that didn’t make me want to throw my phone out the window.  Well, you’d be wrong. Of course.

You can see the swashed-out and cloudy picture above which is my final attempt, and posted to my Instagram with regrets.  After 3 different attempts, this was still the best I could get.  I am leaving the picture posted to send a message to my editing apps that they cannot break me.  Even though they definitely already have.

How am I going to grow my brand and increase my Instagram network if I can only post crappy pictures?! Gosh!

Blogger Problems.  Total Blogger Problems.

Same with last night.  I got home and needed a pick-me-up, so I made some quick easy hot chocolate from scratch.  It was delicious, and so simple! Wouldn’t I like to share this recipe on my blog? Of course I would.  Will I? Probably not, because my kitchen is tiny, dark, cramped and usually always a mess due to lack of storage.  Makes for really, really awful photography.  One day, I dream of a big kitchen, large counter tops and a big window so I can take pictures as I cook.  Not for functionality, but just so that it can be a better background for blog pictures. Total Blogger Problems.

And finally, the biggest blogger problem of all, is constantly thinking “I could blog about this…” whenever I do something some creative, cute, or picture-worthy.  Anyone else do this?  I get a foam-art leaf on top of my coffee? My first instinct is to take a picture so I can blog it/Instagram it later.  Pay no mind to the hipster laughing at me at the table over while I try 3 different angles and different configuration of my things sitting on the table.  Or wanting to go get Starbucks just for the Instagram opportunity.  Or– even worse– getting Starbucks, only to realize they’re out of the holiday cups so the whole thing is ruined anyway.

Total. Blogger. PROBLEMS.

So many problems, so little time left before the leaves change and the epic season of inspiration is over and we lose it all. Please tell me I’m not alone in these massive hardships, because I need some solutions. iPhone photographers– what are your secrets? Please let me know!


xo, kelsey (2)