4 Reasons Why You Should Read (and a giveaway)

If you’ve been around here before, you probably already know how much I love reading.  I’ve mentioned my love of books and of writing several times, and every once in a while you’ll even see me sharing book recommendations or reviews! But if reading isn’t your thing, it can seem strange to see someone who loves it.  So here four reasons I think everyone should give reading a chance (and why I’m shocked when I talk to someone who says they never read).

why read

For Entertainment

As much as we all love watching a good episode of our favorite show, going to the local AMC for a new movie with friends, or seeing a play on Broadway, it surprises me to see people who don’t think of books as a form of entertainment.  Just like anything else, books tell a story meant to entertain us in some way, whether it’s to teach us something new, to take us to another world, or to indulge a fantasy we might have.

To Learn

Books have been pushed on us for as long as we can remember as a pathway to learning.  Our years spent in school were built on textbooks, and our parents have always loved to see us with a good book.  But just because you’re out of college doesn’t mean that you should stop wanting to know more.  As human beings, we’re built to crave new information, and books are an amazing way to fill that craving, especially since there are hundreds of books on any subject you can imagine.

To Escape

I just wrote on Monday about how my student loans have me trapped in one place, but books are an amazing way of getting away from where you are.  Whether you’re reading Harry Potter to find yourself in a magical world, or The Book Thief to put yourself in another time and imagine what that would have been like, a good book can take you anywhere.

For Culture

For as long as we’ve been able, human beings have been compelled to write things down.  Every story, every piece of history, every religious commandment has been recorded in writing, in some form or another.  Reading is a way of embracing and learning more about your culture.  Without it, we’d have trouble knowing who we are.

The Bookworm Giveaway

A giveaway hosted by Elle of The Lady Errant

The Prize

Sixteen Kindle ebooks that are so good I’m already planning on reading all of them. Since we all just chose one of our favorite books to recommend, there’s an awesome mix of genres, meaning something for everyone :)

The Terms

1) The Amazon Kindle app is available for a variety of devices, including PCs and Macs. If you’re a diehard physical book lover who absolutely loathes digital reading, this might not be the giveaway for you. While we love physical books too, ebooks won because they’re usually cheaper and can be sent instantly worldwide. No mail mishaps here.

2) Regardless, the winner will need a Kindle or Kindle app on some device, and be able to send me the email address associated with said account within 48 hours once notified of her status. If no contact has been made within 48 hours, I will select another winner. And naturally, I’ll check the entries.

3) Once I have the email address, the winner should receive all ebooks within another 48 hours.

4) Giveaway is open internationally – but with conditions. If you’re living abroad (and don’t have a US billing address associated with your Amazon account) there may be copyright issues restricting what you can receive. In that case, instead of the ebook, you would automatically receive Amazon credit. If there’s a problem with getting credit or receiving your books, contact me because 1) I’d like to know if there’s an issue for future reference and 2) I’d like to help.

The Books

Want to know a bit about the books you could be winning? Check out the slideshow below to see what books each person contributed, and what that book is all about!

The Entries

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Blog Photography : 3 Tips to Improve Your Photos

One of the things I don’t talk about much in terms of blogging advice is photography.  As much as I love it, I know that I’m far from being an expert in that particular field, and that’s before you add in all the editing that comes with professional blog photography.
But in the years since I’ve started carrying a camera around, and in the years since then when I started blogging, I’ve learned a few things to help me get by.  So, my tips today might not help you become a famous wedding photographer, but they will help you in terms of blog photography.
Blog Photography

Carry Your Camera Everywhere

Seriously.  This is something I’m constantly having to remind myself to do, but whether you’re spending the day in the city with some friends, going on an amazing vacation, or just taking your dog for a walk – you should bring your camera with you.  I think it must be an unwritten law of the universe that fantastic photo opportunities present themselves when you don’t have a camera available.  My solution? Make sure you always have your camera, and the results will show in your blog photography!


Take A LOT of Photos

I guarantee this will probably drive your friends nuts (it certainly makes my friends a bit crazy), but it just makes sense that if you take five photos you won’t have as many chances for a good one as if you take 100 photos.  A lot of photo opportunities may not present themselves again, so if you don’t get the shot now, you’re never going to.  It’s just easier to take way too many photos now, than to get home and realize they’re all out of focus, off center, or shot in the wrong setting.


Use PicMonkey

I mentioned that editing is NOT my forte when it comes to photography.  It’s my goal to have to do next to nothing to a photograph to make it look the way I want it to (refer to number two, wherein I take about 1,000 photos until one of them is perfect).  I haven’t used Photoshop since high-school, so it’s basically all Greek to me (much like HTML, now that I mention it).

One editing program I can use though is PicMonkey, and lucky for all of us it doesn’t come with the same hefty price tag as Photoshop.  If all you’re worried about is simple blog photography for your lifestyle blog, PicMonkey is perfect to change color, add text, resize, crop, and some other really helpful things!

Keep Stock Photos Handy

If I’ve learned nothing else about blog photography, it’s that every post should have at least one pin-worthy photo in it.  And if you want to avoid stealing someone else’s work – even unintentionally – it’s important to have a plan.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve started working on keeping a folder on my desktop of my blog photography.  Any photos I take, I edit to the correct size and then save in this folder so that when I need a post photo, I can check here first.  And if that fails, I keep a list of good sites for free stock photos, like Unsplash.


And now that we’re on the subject of blogging and photography, I’d like to not so gracefully introduce you to a lovely giveaway! Jana of Life Could Be a Dream, along with myself and some other lovely bloggers, have been loving these  Epiphanie camera bags, and would love to give you all the chance to win one in this great giveaway!

Blog Photography
The Fine Print:
The giveaway will run from 12:00 am EST on September 25th until 11:59 pm EST on October 1st. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Entries will be verified, so please don’t be a stinker about your entries. Just be honest. The winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to claim their prize before a new winner is selected. Lastly, good luck! :)

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