Best Places to Instagram in Fort Worth

Inspired by Helene's post about the best places to photograph in Nashville, I decided Fort Worth needed a little love, too! Dallas seems to get a lot of press because of its "trendiness," but I think Fort Worth deserves a share of the spotlight! If you're in Dallas, or visiting the DFW area, head over to Cowtown to get some of these shots- perfect for Instagram!

Brewed - Southside

Brewed is the go-to coffee shop for students and hipsters alike. Just 10 minutes away from TCU's campus, Brewed is a popular study spot, but also brings in large crowds on the weekends for their delicious brunch. This mural on the side of the building is the perfect place to proclaim your love for the Fort.

AVOCA Coffee - Southside

A photo posted by nikki | 26 | dfw (@nikkiknack) on

Just a hop, skip and a jump away from Brewed is another caffeinated FW favorite- Avoca. From their locally brewed coffee to their study spaces, Avoca is the perfect place to chill. In addition to this, their recently finished mural is the perfect spot to snap an artsy insta.

MELT Ice Cream - Southside

For a cooler treat, head down the street to Melt at its new location on Magnolia. After grabbing your ice cream, head outside to take some bold Instagrams next to their iconic yellow wall. You won't even have to set your location with this one- everyone knows about it!

Taco Heads - Museum District

A photo posted by Taco Heads (@taco_heads._) on

For those of you that consider tacos a main food group- this wall is for you. What better way to proclaim your love for the food than an Instagram in front of this wall?! Located on Camp Bowie, Taco Heads is an Iinstagrammer's dream. In addition to this "raining taco" wall, there are numerous spots at this restaurant just begging to be photographed.

WHO WAH WAH WHO - Southside

Any die-hard TCU fan (well, any TCU fan at all) knows that this is part of the TCU chant we yell at just about everything. This place is the perfect spot to publicly proclaim your love for the Frogs, Fort Worth and art all in one Instagram. (And a great stop after getting some ice cream at Melt!)

Fort Worth is full of surprises around every corner, so it goes without saying that this is just a sample of the photoshoot options you have in Funky Town. For even more ideas, check out the hashtag #wallsoffortworth on Instagram! Where have you found spots to shoot in your own town? Show me your Instagrams, people!!

Planner Stamping

Looking way back to a year ago, I posted a blog about how I chose the Erin Condren Life Planner. Long story short, I was deep into the planner game, then fell out and didn't care and just recently got back into it. When I say I 'fell out,' I don't mean I stopped planning, but I stopped being intentional with my planning. I didn't washi, I didn't stamp and I didn't sticker. I just wrote. Like normal people. But by now I'm sure most of you have figured out I'm not normal.

People who have never experienced the planner community are in for a shock. I stumbled across this stationary-crazed group of women last year right after I bought my ECLP. I don't remember exactly how this came about, but I think it had something to do with the hilarious 'Llama Letters' YouTube channel. Cindy is a die-hard planner and combines her incredible penmanship with her creativity to create some incredible planner spreads (planner lingo for a week in a planner). I've always been a creative, and I've always enjoyed being organized, so naturally, I was hooked.

After binge-watching numerous (err dozens) of "Plan With Me" videos on YouTube, joining some Facebook groups and following some planners on Instagram I was ready to get my start in the obsession. Now, if you're actually interested in the community, there are so many variations of planning you can do. Bullet, personal, stickers, stamping, EC, Inkwell, Happy Planner, vertical, horizonal, etc. I won't bore you with the details (if you're interested- email me!) but I chose planner stamping. Why? Well, if you look into it, planners who use stickers spend an outrageous amount of money. I'm all for buying oodles of goodies, but when you have to do it week after week just to continue your obsession, it adds up, quick. When I found out about planner stamping, I found it to be the perfect solution. You can do much of the same things you can do with stickers, but you can use them over and over again. It just made financial sense to me. Some planners will use a mix of stamping and stickers- and I've tried that, but I always end up primarily stamping.

By this point in the post you're thinking one of two things: 1) this betch is crazy and wasting her money, or 2) this sounds interesting, I will read on. Both of you are right. I am crazy but it is interesting. Pick your poison and read on.

Like I said, this all began a year ago. My mother, who is a creative and an organizer like myself, supported my new obsession (I also got her semi-hooked, like the good daughter I am). The first things you need when beginning to planner stamp are:

A planner. Duh. But like I said above, there are sooo many options and each satisfy different planners' needs. I've used an Erin Condren Life Planner Horizontal for a year, but now that I've accumulated some coupon codes (get $10 off here, wink wink), I just recently purchased the Erin Condren Life Planner Vertical Neutral. I'm excited for something new, I'll be sharing more about it when it arrives!

Ink. When starting to planner stamp, you'll hear time and time again that inks bleed through your pages. The solution to this is to buy chalk ink. The best brand for this is VersaMagic Chalk Ink. They have so many different colors and are sold at Michael's, Hobby Lobby, and Jo-Ann's. Because all three of these stores offer coupons regularly, you can get these inks for cheap!

Acrylic block. What's this, you ask? Most stamps aren't your grandma's rubber stamps. They're usually clear photopolymer stamps, and to use these, you need something to stick them to to actually use them. The solution to this is acrylic blocks. These can be found in any stamp aisle in any craft store. I have a cheap 3"x3" from Jo-Ann's (bought with a coupon). I could honestly use a smaller block because most of my stamps are pretty small, but this size works just fine. One tip I will give new stampers is to put washi tape on the edge of your block, otherwise they can disappear because they are clear.

Last but not least, stamps! Like I mentioned above, most planner stamps are photopolymer clear stamps. They're clear and can get lost easily, so be careful! Now of course, this is where you let your creativity flow. There are a lot of companies (though, I would love for even more to pop up) that make planner-specific stamps, but you can obviously modify and use non-planner type stamps to use as decoration. I'm more of a functional planner, so I don't do as much decorating, but to each their own! Here's a list of planner stamping shops (I'll indicate which one's I've used and loved):

Clearly, the list goes on and on. Stamps are always at craft, stationary and scrapbook stores, so if you explore a local store, you'll probably find some! They all have their own unique twist, so it's up to you to decide what kind of stamping you enjoy.

In addition to stamps, people will add plenty of things to their planner spreads. I usually only use stamps, washi, and occasionally some decorative paper or page flags.

Want to learn more about planner stamping? Check out this Facebook group. On Instagram, check out the hashtags #plannerstamps and #plannerstamping. On YouTube, search planner stamping and you'll find plenty!

As always, feel free to email me with any questions about planner stamping, or planning in general! I'm an official addict and would be more than happy to blabber on about it! Seeing as recruitment will be beginning soon, blog posts will be pretty few and far between, but hopefully I will be back writing more once the sorority craziness is over! Happy August!

June Rewind

O. M. G. How the hell is it already July? When I was younger I always saw July as the halfway point of Summer, but as a college student, Summer starts a little earlier, in May. Clearly, we're just flying through Summer. June was a little more eventful than May, so I figured I'd give a little insight into my month!

First of all, it was my birthday month! I turned 21 on June 1st and it was certainly a monumental birthday! It's weird to be able to order a margarita anywhere I want... even if I do get questioned occasionally for not looking my age... Ya win some ya lose some. I still need to make some fun, boozy popsicles! If you know any fabulous recipes, link them below!

Just a couple of days after my birthday, my parents and I packed up my car and a big ole' UHAUL and headed down south, back to Fort Worth. Not wanting to drive 9ish hours straight (especially with my dad not having cruise control in the UHAUL), we made it a two-day trip, driving from Kansas City to Oklahoma City one day, and Oklahoma City to Fort Worth the next. In OKC, we got a delicious dinner at Bricktown Brewery while watching the Frogs battle it out baseball-style on TV. I think my dad was a little excited I can legally drink now, because he was insistent on heading to a different bar for another drink. We found cute, little JJ's Alley, which is literally an alley converted into an indoor bar in the Bricktown district of OKC. There was live music, good drinks and kitschy decor everywhere.

Trust me, it's fuller than it looks.

My right-hand men helped us move in
Moving in was quite the tedious process. Luckily, I had my parents there to help me with anything and everything. Shoutout to my dad for doing lots of heavy lifting, Ikea-building and ACE Hardware-runs. Shoutout to my mom for fabulously organizing my entire kitchen and lining each and every shelf. My kitchen would be a wreck without you! Also big shoutout to the guys pictured above! My best guy friends came over to help my dad with the heavy lifting, maintenance, and even cut a necessary hole in a cabinet, all while making fun of my white/gold obsession! Thanks boys!

Once my parents bid adieu, I found myself having to adult for the first time. Let me tell you one thing: grocery shopping for an actual kitchen is so. weird. You don't think about all of the spices and oils and kitchen staples you need when stocking your kitchen.

After a week of decorating and unpacking, I finally got to the grindstone and got myself a job. That's right, I'm a big girl now. It may not have been the summer job I had in mind, but I sure am glad it turned out like it did. I'm working at a new restaurant in the happenin' area of Fort Worth as a hostess. This job has already tested me, taught me, and entertained me, but I love it. I think I might start a series about this particular subject just because there's always something new happening.

The last excitement of June included travelling up to good ole' Beloit, Wisconsin for my cousin Ashley's wedding. This side of my family is the 'wild side,' so naturally it was quite eventful. We got a couple of days to visit my grandpa and show my brother's girlfriend the beautiful Milwaukee, WI.

If you haven't tried Spotted Cow, you're missing out.

Friday Night Fish Fry is my favorite Wisconsin tradition
The wedding was beautiful, but the reception was even better. Who would have thought that a small town in Wisconsin would have such a beautiful winery? It was stunning. It was so fun to eat, drink and dance with my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandpa. Family time is the best time!

This post may be about a week too late but I didn't want to miss out on catching y'all up with my not-so-eventful life! June was great but July is off to an even better start! I'm really really trying to post more but work has got me exhausted. I'll try my best, y'all! Have an absolutely lovely July!

The Bar Cart

*Affiliate links are used in this post. Seeking the South received free products to be reviewed, however, all opinions are my own.*

As some of you know, I recently moved back to Fort Worth for the summer into my first house ever! For someone obsessed with decorating, this was a dream come true for me. Not only could I decorate my bedroom, but a kitchen and a living room as well? I was in heaven. Well, surprise surprise decorating a house on a strict budget & with roommates was easier said than done. However, the house is coming together and I'm so excited to share some pictures! Today I'm only sharing the bar cart.

This was one project I was most looking forward to because bar carts are ~all the rage~ right now and very #pinterestchic. However, getting this bar cart was a bit of a journey. First, my mom and I ventured to the Ikea back in Kansas City with a few things on our list, but our most important item was the BYGEL Utility Cart. We got all the way through the store and got to the warehouse (which, for those of you who don't know, is basically a huge self-serve Costco with pallets of boxes of unmade furniture) and went to find the prized utility cart and it. was. not. there. We went to one of the employees for help and after looking the item up in the computer, he gave us the tragic news that the cart was not being sold there anymore and they weren't up for any restocks, insinuating that the cart was being discontinued. *Bloggers screams heard 'round the world* I don't know if that man was giving false information or what, but if you've had your eyes on this cart, now would be your time to buy. Naturally, I was not about to give up on my Pinterest-y bar cart dreams, so I went to the second best option: the internet. Luckily for me, the BYGEL was still being sold on Ikea's website so I bought that cart faster than you could believe.

Fast forward about a week or two, when the glorious cart was delivered to my Fort Worth doorstep by the Swedish Gods themselves (read: Ikea). Now came the DIY part. As you'll notice in Ikea's picture of the cart, the metal is gold. For someone who strictly decorates with gold, this was not going to fly. I got my handy dandy gold spray paint and got to work. Like the idiot I am, I decide to spray paint all of the silver parts gold, before putting it together. This caused me to end up with awkward silver screws and unnecessary uses of paint in the end. I would suggest putting together the cart (minus the white trays/drawer) and then spray painting it.

For something Ikea-made, this cart was relatively easy to put together. The only thing you need that isn't provided is a Philips Head Screwdriver, which is your most basic screwdriver. Another great thing about this cart is the drawer. It's perfect for putting in unsightly tools, extra shot glasses, extra straws, etc.

One of my favorite goodies I scored for the cart was this adorable gold Pineapple Tumbler from UncommonGoods. First of all, it's a pineapple. Need I say more? Well, I will. It could be used as a straw holder, a candy dish, and obviously, a tumbler. Right now I'm simply using it as a decorative piece, but I might switch it up eventually. For those of you married folks celebrating anniversaries or birthdays this summer, this would make a fab anniversary gift. Isn't there a golden pineapple year?? UncommonGoods has gotcha covered. (And they're super environmentally friendly too- bonus!)

Top Shelf:
'LMAO' Cocktail Napkins
Glitter Champagne Flutes
Pineapple Towel
Artwork (frames were painted)
Shitty, cheap alcohol (please donate to our alcohol collection)

Middle Shelf:
Agate Coasters
La Croix Sparkling Water

Can we pause and just look at these beautiful coasters for a second? UncommonGoods has done it again.

Bottom Shelf:
Palm Leaf Dish
Silver Bar set was donated by my lovely brother!
Mason Jar Shot Glasses (similar)

The cart is certainly still a work in progress but it's coming together nicely, I'd say! We obviously need to amp up our alcohol selection and chasers... but that's an easy fix. I'm so excited to share more photos of the house as it comes together- keep an eye out! Have a lovely weekend, friends!

My Little Tips & Tricks to Growing Your Instagram

In case you haven't heard, Instagram is all the rage. If you're not on Instagram, who are you?! Kidding. Kind of. But seriously, Instagram is muy importante (read: very important) whether you're a blooming blogger or a serious business. Having a visual of your brand can make or break your product. I wanted to share my tips that I use for my Instagram, hoping it will help others grow theirs! (Give my Instagram a follow, if you'd like!)

1. Think like a photographer
It doesn't take a professional photographer to have a successful Instagram account. Trust me. However, it is important to think like a photographer. It's usually a good idea to stick to a general 'theme.' I have a tough time with this and since I'm still growing my Instagram, it's definitely still a work in progress, but I think I've figured out I like posting bright, bold pictures, which often happen to be food (I like to eat okay?!). Some people choose to do all neutral colors, or mainly portraits, or pastels. It all depends on your taste and aesthetic. People are generally turned off from accounts that don't have much cohesiveness and just post random photos.

2. Edit right
I use so many apps to edit my pictures. I'll often edit the same picture with three apps. It all depends on what I'm trying to do. Here are a few of my favorites:
  • Color Story: great to make your photos really pop. This one is perfect for highly saturated, fun photos.
  • VSCO: a classic. Great for your artsy pics. This app also doubles as a social media platform if you choose to use it that way.
  • Afterlight: what I use on my personal pics. If it's going on my personal Instagram, I'm going to use Afterlight. There are tons of filter options and I can always find something I like!
  • Avairy: I use this one if I need to blur something in my photo. I don't like its options for filters but the tools are sometimes helpful.
Editing can truly make or break a photo. While Instagram has really upped its in-app editing features, I like using third party apps to make my photos beautiful. It's rare a photo can go onto Instagram without a little editing. A helpful hint to make editing faster is to save your editing steps in-app. I know both Color Story and Afterlight let you 'save' your editing steps so all you have to do is click one button and it transforms your photo into what would usually take 6 different steps. I only do this occasionally, but if time is an important factor for you, it can be a total game changer.

3. Plan it out
This is something I'm still messing with. It's important to post Instagrams at the right time in order to maximize your audience. The simplest way to do this is to think logically. How many people will really be on Instagram between 12am and 7am? How many of your followers are working between 9am and 5pm? Things like these are important factors to when you post. I've started using an app called "WhenToPost" that suggests when the best times are for you to post an Instagram, based on your followers. I haven't quite figured out if it's completely accurate yet, but it's worth a shot!

Once you figure out when to post your 'gram, it's time to schedule! Scheduling is a great way to save time and to ensure that your photos are being posted at peak hours. I use an app called "Later" which lets you upload your pre-edited Instagram, add a caption, then schedule a time you'd like to post it. It takes so much of the trouble out of perfectly timed Instagrams!

* Because of Instagram's terms of use, third party applications cannot post on its behalf, meaning that when you schedule your post, Later will send you a notification to open up Instagram and post, with the photo and caption all ready to go.

4. Hashtag that ish
For my personal Instagram, I never use hashtags. And if I do, it's usually as a joke. However, in the blog/business world, hashtags are a major way to gain followers, likes and community. In order to keep it as inconspicuous as possible, don't add your hashtags on your original caption. Instead, add a comment once the photo is posted and insert your hashtags there. That way, the hashtags "disappear" when others comment on your photo, keeping your photos looking less "desperate" as I like to say. However, when you're using many hashtags, typing them out every time you post an Instagram can be quite tedious. I've followed the ways of some fellow bloggers and adopted an easy method of 'hashtagging.'

First: Type out all of the hashtags you want to use on a 'note.' These will vary based on what you're posting (blogging, food, fashion, etc) but make sure your hashtags are relevant to the photo, otherwise it's a waste of a hashtag. Some of my favorites include #photosinbetween, #mybeautifulmess and #thatsdarling. These were all created by different users and have blown up. (To read more about hashtags to use to grow, click here.) To save space, I don't leave a space between each '#'. The '#'s' separate themselves. Copy this entire note.

Second: Go to 'Settings,' then 'General,' then 'Keyboard,' then 'Text Replacement.' In the upper right-hand corner, you'll see a plus sign. Click that. It will bring you to a screen with two blanks: 'Phrase' and 'Shortcut.' In the 'Phrase' blank, paste the group of hashtags you just copied from your notes. In the 'Shortcut' blank, you can choose whatever combination of letter/numbers you want to type that will make all of your hashtags appear. I chose to do '##' because it was easy and I didn't think I'd be regularly using '##' in everyday texting conversations.

And there you have it! A successful Instagram is right around the corner, you just have to make the effort to get it! Let me know if you've used my tricks to better your Instagram, and tell me how it goes! I can't wait to hear!

Do you have tips to grow your Instagram? Comment below!