Tips for Taking the Best License Photo, School Photo, or Passport Photo

I had planned on doing this post back when I got married and found I had to take another passport and license photo. I completely forgot about it until my recently married friend mentioned that she too just got her new license, and sans makeup or brushed hair found herself frantically taking her photo. She laughed about making the lady take her picture multiple times, but I can definitely relate as I did that too! Hey, it’s something you’ll have to live with for awhile, so why not treat it as a photoshoot? Here are a few quick tips on how to take the best license photo, school photo, or passport photo….or at least avoid looking like this.

Worst License Photo

Photo Source: mnbikingvikings.blogspot.com

Cstophecklist DONT’S for the Best License Photo, School Photo, or Passport Photo:

  1. Don’t wear crazy large patterns or stripes. They don’t tend to photograph well.
  2. Don’t wear something too trendy, meaning clothes, makeup, and hairstyle. You can have a passport for up to 10 years, and as we learned from the past, you may get sick of crimped hair and blue eyeshadow!
  3. Don’t wear anything too low cut or too high neck. Sometimes the photos are really close up and if you’re wearing something with a high neck (let’s just stay away from turtlenecks in general, k?), you’ll look like you literally have no neck. You also don’t want the “ladies” popping out….unless that’s your plan on getting out of a traffic ticket! Ha!
  4. Don’t wear statement jewelry. Sure, that ginormous chunky rhinestone necklace may be “adorbs,” but when thinking about these photos classy and understated is best. Simple stud earrings are usually my choice.
  5. Don’t wear something without sleeves. Trust me, even the tiniest of girls may not photograph as well if wearing spaghetti straps, sleeveless, and definitely not a tube top (you’ll look naked!). This mainly goes back to how the photo is cropped, so it’s more flattering if you have sleeves…even short sleeves.
Style Trials how to take a good license photo

Example of my license photo following the tips below!

checkmarkChecklist DO’S for the Best License Photo, School Photo, or Passport Photo:

  1.  Do think about what kind of top you’re wearing. Some photos you won’t see it, others you will (I’ve had license photos where you can and can’t see it, and my passport and school photos you can see it). I usually go with a solid color, either bright but not neon bright (think cherry red) or neutral. I think a color like navy or cherry red makes the picture less boring, but you can’t go wrong with neutral.
  2. Do put on makeup. And when you put it on, make sure you actually put more makeup on than you normally would in real life. From my days of professional dance teams and modeling, I learned that eyeliner, lots of mascara (or false eyelashes if you’re going to the extreme with stage makeup – not necessary for this), more blush than you normally would, and some kind of color on your lips is best. The lighting on these pics will not be great, and this will prevent you from looking washed out.
  3. Do wear your hair like you normally would. Don’t do some crazy style or go to the extra effort for beauty pageant hair, you still want to look like your everyday self. Remember, people will be looking at your i.d. to identify YOU. I usually just wear mine straight and down and pull it in front on both sides. If you pull it back or wear it up, you may end up looking like you have no hair.
  4. Do ask to retake the picture if you see it and really just can’t live with it. Of course do this at your digression as it may not make sense if you have a line behind you, but I purposely get these pictures done at times that I know it will not be as busy. It’s not a weird request, just don’t ask them to do it more than 2 or 3 times max.
  5. Do SMILE! Now is not the time to throw the camera your best pouty face. Keep your eyes open and bright, and smile big. 🙂

Do you have any other Do’s or Dont’s to add to this list, or a funny experience you had when taking one of these photos? Let me know in a comment below!


Bench Makeover & How to Calculate Fabric Yardage

My friend just moved into her new home, and is having a lot of fun making it her own. She luckily received some hand-me-down furniture (we all know how expensive it can be to furnish a new space), and wanted help revamping this bench for her guestroom! It had a really sturdy base, but the upholstered top was dirty and outdated. This fix took LESS THAN 1 HOUR – including going to the store and buying fabric! Here’s how we did it, including how to calculate fabric yardage. 

Style Trials Bench makeover no-sew hgtv chevron fabric - How to Recover an Upholstered Bench

We proceeded to Jo-Ann Fabrics (which is 2 minutes from my house), and immediately started looking at their upholstery designer fabrics. I like to pair larger organic prints such as paisley or florals with hardlines such as stripes or a mini print. We fell in love with this grey HGTV chevron fabric which is part of the HGTV designer fabric collection. It offset her paisley bedspread and green walls quite nice, and is a trendy print that would immediately bring this bench back to life!

Grey chevron and printed paisley fabric Style Trials

Figuring out the yardage was pretty easy, so I’m going to quickly walk you through a little math lesson. Luckily I have an interior design degree and worked with custom fabric treatments (i.e. windows coverings, pillows, etc), but I know this can be the hardest part and potentially a costly mistake. Using these tips on how to calculate fabric yardage will hopefully help!

How to Calculate Fabric Yardage

First, we measured the area being recovered. This bench was only 45″ wide and the fabric bolt was 55″ wide, so we didn’t have to worry about seams or railroading (turning the bolt sideways) the fabric. 55 inches minus 45 inches = 10″ total of allowance (or 5″ per side) to wrap around the back of the bench and staple – perfect! Next I had to figure out the depth so I could determine how much fabric I needed cut from the bolt.

The bench was about 16″ deep, and I wanted to allow an extra 4″-5″ on either side for staple-gun allowance. 16 inches + 5 inches (allowance top) + 5 inches (allowance bottom) = 26″ total. That’s what I based my overall yardage on, since the 55″ width of the bolted fabric is a standard that stays the same as they simply unroll the bolt for how much fabric you need.

From here, you take the amount in inches (in this case 26″), and ALWAYS divide by 36 to convert inches into yardage of fabric needed. That gave me 0.72 yards of fabric needed. I typically round up to the nearest 1/4 yard because it doesn’t hurt to get just a little extra fabric in case your calculations are off. You can judge this yourself based on how much seam allowance you included and how far off from the next 1/4 yard you are. We ordered 0.75 or 3/4 of a yard.

How to Recover an Upholstered Bench No-Sew Technique

  1. We started by unscrewing the top of the upholstered bench from the base using a drill.
  2. We decided the new chevron fabric was thick enough that we could simply recover the bench over the existing fabric, that way we didn’t damage the padding or loose it’s shape. If you can do this, it makes the entire process SO much easier.
  3. We laid the face of the chevron fabric down so it was facing the ground. Then we put the board on top, front side down. Because this is a geometric print with a repeat, I wanted to measure to make sure it was evenly spaced out on the fabric. I measured the center of the board (where the purple pen is shown below) and lined it up with the center of a chevron point like this. I also eyeballed where I wanted it to hit on the sides. style trials Measuring fabric to recover seat - How to Calculate Fabric YardageIf you’re not sure, you can always wrap the fabric around the board with your hands and look at it real quick to make sure you like how it’s placed. It’s always better to double check!
  4. Next, we proceeded with stapling the fabric around all 4 sides before proceeding to the corners. Make sure to read my tutorial from when I recovered my kitchen chairs on exactly how to do this, and how to fold the corners which can be the trickiest part.Staple nosew recover fabric tutorial diy - How to Calculate Fabric Yardage
  5. From there, simply drill the seat back on the benchtop and you’re done!

Before & After Pics:

Before and After Bench Seat Recovered - How to Recover an Upholstered BenchStyle Trials Bench Recover Before And After - How to Recover an Upholstered Bench

Style Trials Bench Makeover After Grey Chevron Print

Not too shabby for less than an hours worth of work, huh? She plans to eventually stain the piece darker and add new hardware, but at least now it looks fresh and part of this century! 🙂

What do you think of the finished piece and have you tried doing anything like this before? If so, let me know below…I’d love to see your before and after pictures!

 


We Got Another Puppy! How to Introduce your New Puppy to your Resident Dog

This post brought to you by American Kennel Club. All opinions are 100% mine.

Hubby and I noticed that our long-haired chihuahua, Milo, is extremely social but has lost a little spunk this past year. We don’t think it’s because he’s getting older (he still acts like a puppy around other dogs), but rather that he’s at home by himself all day. He needed a friend…I mean, look how high-strung he was? 🙂

We’re excited to announce that we adopted another furry friend this past weekend. Meet Charlie Bear. 🙂

Charlie is a purebred AKC registered long-haired chihuahua, just like his soon-to-be brother Milo. When researching, I found great resources on the AKC website that can definitely help anyone interested in finding a dog. For example, they have this tool where you can search for breeds to get info on each kind such as grooming details, temperament, size, and where you kind find breeders. We figured going with the same breed would probably make the most sense for us, since we are familiar with long-haired chihuahuas and hoped they would bond quicker. I also liked that they have an AKC Rescue Network, where you can find dogs that need a new home.

Whether you’re getting your new furbaby from a breeder or a shelter, of course you’ll want to do your research. Getting a dog is a major life decision, so here are a few tips/questions I found to think about when making your choice.

Breeder Questions

1.) If working with a breeder, make sure the breeder is responsible. You should ask to see the puppy, the parents (or at least one of them so you can get an idea of what your puppy’s future may hold), and the premises where the puppy is being cared for. It should be clean and odor free, and the puppy should be well fed and not appear sickly.

2.) Pay attention to how the pup interacts with the breeder. Does it shy away from the breeder? Does the breeder seem to genuinely care about the puppy?

3.) Don’t expect to bring the puppy home until it is 8-12 weeks old. The puppy needs that time with it’s mom and littermates for socialization and to grow strong.

4.) Don’t be afraid to ask questions! The breeder should want to answer all of your questions, and likewise want the puppy to go to a good home. Good questions to ask would be about the breed’s strengths/weaknesses, any knowledge of genetic diseases, and documents. The breeder should be able to share proof of health and make sure the pup is up-to-date on it’s shots/vet visits while still under their care.

Below is a great example of responsible breeders…and seriously, can we talk about how cute these mini wirehaired dachshund puppies are?!

Shelter Questions

1.) Don’t be afraid to ask why the dog is in a shelter. Was it rescued, a stray, surrendered by the previous owner (and if so, why)? That knowledge may help determine what kind of care the dog will need.

2.) What was the health condition of the dog when he came to the shelter, and what kind of vet care has the dog received since? Are there any special medical conditions or dietary needs you should know about?

3.) Training – is the dog housebroken, good around kids, other pets, strangers, etc?

Of course Milo will always hold a special place in my heart, and I’ll never forget the first day I brought him home.

We read a lot on how to introduce your new puppy to your resident dog, and went with these steps. It went flawless, so I wanted to share!

Tips on Introducing your New Puppy to your Resident Dog

  1. Introduce your dog to the puppy on neutral ground, that way he won’t get territorial. Avoid your house and yard. We let them meet at a school playground down the road so there was a lot of open space, and did this on the weekend so there wasn’t anyone else around.
  2. Ideally you should put them both on the ground, and stand with your legs apart in case the puppy gets scared and wants to seek refuge under you. Avoid holding the puppy and letting the dog smell him because he will feel trapped.
  3. Keep a CLOSE eye on them, and if any fights break out of course separate them. Luckily Milo is a little lover, so I didn’t have to worry about fights.
  4. Bring them back to your home, and let them start out in your yard before bringing them inside. Baby steps. I let them both hang out on our back porch too, then finally brought them inside.
  5. From here, try to keep your schedule that you had with the resident dog the same. You don’t want him to resent the puppy, and of course always keep an eye on them when together until they are very comfortable around each other.

dog meeting puppy for first time style trials

I admit I was nervous for the transition and having to train a puppy again, but I just know once they get comfortable they will be best buds. Charlie already seems pretty comfortable himself.

long haired Chihuahua puppy style trials

They really are so much more than just pets, aren’t they?

Do you have any tips or ideas on introducing a new puppy to your resident dog? I’d love to hear them, so leave me a comment below!

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Our New House!

So you may have heard by now that Hubby and I have some BIG NEWS. We bought our first house!

Now that we’ve been married for a year, our little 1 bedroom condo was more than outgrown. Milo, our long-haired chihuahua, would agree.

We had been scouring potential homes even months before our wedding, and landed on one that we both liked. I am the pickiest person ever, especially since one of my degrees is in interior design, yet I have a DIY personality! Here was our wishlist:

HOUSE WISHLIST

  1. 1 Story preferred (although I’d be fine if the perfect house were 2 stories depending on layout)
  2. High Ceilings
  3. Lots of natural light
  4. Open floorplan (especially kitchen area so we don’t feel disconnected)
  5. At least 2 full baths and 3 bedrooms minimum
  6. Move in ready so Hubby wouldn’t be overwhelmed – I’d be fine with gutting and tearing down walls, but maybe I just watch too much HGTV 🙂
  7. Not TOO move in ready for me. I still wanted small projects to make it our own, and didn’t want to pay for other people’s upgrades that may not be our style.
  8. Back yard for entertaining, but not too large because we wanted to maintain it ourselves
  9. Location – specific county for schools and resale value, plus we wanted to stay close to family
  10. Gated neighborhood with a good HOA (effective but not crazy expensive). We wanted a sense of community, a place to feel safe, and in a neighborhood where the neighbors don’t have a billion yard ornaments in front of their crazy bright purple house.
  11. A great bargain – I preferred it to be on the lower end of our budget range, because I thought it would be easier to transition from our condo in terms of bills. I also love a great deal, and in this housing market knew they were out there. We also didn’t want to be “house poor,” because we love going out and doing fun things, vacationing, and of course I love my shopping!
  12. Optional but preferred – a fireplace (I LOVE fireplaces), and perhaps a pool. We were actually kinda torn about a pool because it would be nice living in FL, but it’s also an added expense and responsibility we never had.
  13. Laundry room must be inside

The only problem with the house we found was that it was a short sale. That meant we were waiting for who-knew-how long, and wouldn’t be guaranteed to get it. We took a gamble, and after 7+ months, closed!

Isn’t she a beaut?

Front view of our new home! I love the little bay window and cool angles that make it unique.

Side view. We have a corner lot and cute palm trees. 🙂

Side/Back view. There’s a cute little screened porch that will be perfect for entertaining!

While it doesn’t have everything on the wishlist, it definitely covers most. You have to be realistic that no house will have everything on your list unless you’re building it from scratch, so it’s a matter of setting priorities. We’re really happy, and think this will be a great starter home where we plan to eventually have some kiddos. 🙂

I have to say a BIG thanks to my mom who was our realtor and made it happen. She’s so cute, for my birthday a few weeks later she got me a Pandora bracelet with a house charm to commemorate the event. Thanks Mom!

Hubby and I are really excited and still settling in. I have a long list of fun DIY projects, along with decorating and buying new furniture that I’ll be blogging about. After all, our house will have to have style!

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