Use This, Not That: Eco-Friendly Party Swaps

Although I love (love love love!) party supplies, I had to take a step back and think about my contribution to the trash of this world. It's no secret that single-use plastics are polluting the planet, especially because most of the time they aren't actually recycled. We've all seen images of trash-filled beaches, trash islands in the ocean twice as big as Texas, and floating trash in the Caribbean Sea. As much as we think our trash is gone, it really isn't. Time and time again, we are seeing it pop up in oceans, landfills, and beaches. It's our responsibility to do all we can to improve these conditions. Because of this, I am going to try to do something practically no DIY and party blogger has done before- strive to be more eco-friendly and show you more sustainable methods for your parties. Because while these projects and party themes may be cute, they're killing the planet. And you don't have to sacrifice style to be eco-conscious. To start off small, I'm showing you 10 ways that you can make easy swaps for your next party!

*This post contains affiliate links

 Although I love (love love love!) party supplies, I had to take a step back and think about my contribution to the trash of this world. Because of this, I am going to try to do something practically no DIY and party blogger has done before- strive to be more eco-friendly and show you more sustainable methods for your parties. And you don't have to sacrifice style to be eco-conscious. To start off small, I'm showing you 10 ways that you can make easy swaps for your next party! Click for the full post.

Wooden Cutlery Instead of Plastic

Single-use plastic utensils are probably the biggest waste of money and resources. But, they're so easily accessible and convenient! I challenge you to try wooden cutlery for your next party. There are so many ways that you can customize the utensils if you wanted to, but honestly they are totally fine as-is! They come in fun shapes and colors, but I think tying them with a simple ribbon can also add a nice pop of color similar to the way plastic forks can. Or, try decorating the handle with washi tape for an easy, stress-free look!


Paper Straws Instead of Plastic

I think we've all seen that tragic story of a straw being pulled out of a turtle's nose. Along with being absolutely heartbreaking, we know it's unnecessary. There are so many times we get a straw and don't need one. Any time I'm at a restaurant, I get a cup and a straw- and I always give back the straw. For your next party, try switching to paper straws. There are SO MANY fun designs, which makes them even better for mixing and matching the theme. They're pretty affordable too, and can be used after the party for ordinary drinks. They don't last as long as plastic straws (which is a good thing!) so be sure to keep them out of the liquids until guests are ready to drink.


Compostable Plates Instead of Plastic

Another easy swap is going from plastic plates to paper or compostable ones! Plastic party plates aways end up in regular trash (not recycling) and that's a huge amount of plastic going straight to the landfill. Try switching to something more eco-friendly, like these sugarcane/bagasse plates. You can also use paper plates, which are still better than plastic ones. Look for uncoated paper plates, which can be composted if you're into that sort of thing. This article explains a little more about it.


Reusable Melamine Plates Instead of Disposable

If you really want to be eco-friendly, reduce and reuse! Instead of going for disposable items, invest in a cute set of reusable melamine plates that can match any theme. I love these because they are white on top but have a fun pop of color underneath. If you want to go this route but can't afford the investment, consider going in with a group of friends to create a complete party set. Then, you can put it in a giant container and share it whenever it's needed! Fostering community and saving the environment. What could be better?!

 Although I love (love love love!) party supplies, I had to take a step back and think about my contribution to the trash of this world. Because of this, I am going to try to do something practically no DIY and party blogger has done before- strive to be more eco-friendly and show you more sustainable methods for your parties. And you don't have to sacrifice style to be eco-conscious. To start off small, I'm showing you 10 ways that you can make easy swaps for your next party! Click for the full post.


BYO-Cup Party Instead of Disposable

I had a party earlier this year and I decided the theme was Bring Your Own Cup! Each guest brought a cup of their choice to drink out of for the night. This is fantastic because you don't need to worry about having cups for everyone and you don't ned to wash dishes either! I can't tell you how many parties I've been to where I'm tossing out dozens of plastic cups because no one knew which cup was theirs. This solves that problem even better than a sharpie! I always use my disco ball cup for parties, but my new favorite is a pineapple cup or shell cup for summer. The options are endless!

Reusable Cups That Double as a Favor

If you don't have enough cups for the group, how about purchasing a set of reusable cups that can double as favors? Home Goods always has tons of cute and affordable cups that you could purchase as a favor, and they're definitely better than giving a bag of plastic toys that kids play with for 2 minutes and forget about! This idea would be great for both kids and adults. Just make sure you don't get anything too cheap and crappy- you don't want it going right in the trash!


Personalized Mason Jars Instead of Plastic Cups

Another alternative to plastic favor cups is to use glass mason jars as cups. You can find these in almost any store (like Michael's, Target, or similar) and they've always got sales. To personalize them, use a Sharpie to write each guest's name. This way, everyone knows which cup is theirs! Add a cute paper straw and you're in business.

 Although I love (love love love!) party supplies, I had to take a step back and think about my contribution to the trash of this world. Because of this, I am going to try to do something practically no DIY and party blogger has done before- strive to be more eco-friendly and show you more sustainable methods for your parties. And you don't have to sacrifice style to be eco-conscious. To start off small, I'm showing you 10 ways that you can make easy swaps for your next party! Click for the full post.

Paper Fans Instead of Tissue Paper Poms

Tissue paper poms are easy party decor items that takes up a lot of space, but they don't store well so you can't re-use them. Once they've been unfolded and fluffed, they're pretty much trash. Try using paper fans instead! They come in every color and pattern imaginable, plus they fold up again if you want to re-use them, especially if you use my handy dandy hack! They don't take up a lot of room to store because they fold so compactly, but once they're set up they really make an impact!


Honeycomb Balls Instead of Balloons

Unfortunately, we are starting to see that even balloons aren't good for the environment. Releasing them can have devastating effects, as they can get tangled up with animals or land in places they shouldn't. Even those tossed in the trash can end up in the ocean, where they are mistaken for food. Instead of balloons, use honeycomb balls to create unique party decor and even "balloon" arches! They have the same round shape and come in all kinds of sizes (and even shapes!), so you can create the exact look you'd like. PLUS, you don't have to worry about them deflating!


Disposable Paper Tablecloth (or Reusable Ones) Instead of Plastic

Aside from the fact that plastic tablecloths look kinda cheap, they are full of creases that you can never get out (and not to sound like a broken record but... awful for the environment). Try switching to paper tablecloths! They come on a roll or in a pack, but they usually have a plastic liner underneath so be sure to get a fully paper one. Or, even better, invest in some inexpensive polyester tablecloths that you can toss in the wash after use. I have a large black one I always use for my food table and it's held up really well- plus no stains! For the easiest party set, skip the tablecloth completely and stick with a simple runner!

I like to keep it light over here, but this was something that was really weighing on me. We're all guilty of choosing convenience over sustainability sometimes but it's important to start making changes that will help the earth, not hurt it. I hope this blog post showed you that being eco-friendly isn't really hard, and can actually be really cute! 

Now, I need some feedback from you. What did you think of this post? What types of items would you like alternatives for? Let me know in the comments below!

Maternity Style: Tropical Summer Tassel Outfit at Pier17

Back on June 30, I attended the Color Block Party for Pier 17 as they re-opened and launched their new Geronimo orb installation! It was pretty hot that day and I was 6 months pregnant, but I made the most of it with a cool, lightweight dress and my very own water cup. I still feel a little bit left out when everyone's having cocktails and I can't, so having this cup made me happy! People kept coming up to me and asking me what I was drinking. Spoiler: just water!

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The theme of the event was to be colorful and wear summer brights, so I wore my awesome tassel dress I got last year from Forever 21. I accessorized it with tassel everything, like earrings, a bracelet, and a keychain. I wore cute and comfy colorful crocs plus my flamingo bag for the very first time. To copy the look, I've got 3-4 options you can snag to get a similar look!

Dress  1  2  3  4

Sandals  1  2  3 

Earrings  1  2  3  4

Flamingo Bag  1  2  3 

Bracelet  1  2  3  4

Pineapple Cup  1  2  3 

Keychain  1  2  3  

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Overall the outfit was perfect for keeping cool on such a hot day. I didn't even get to wash & style my hair because I wasn't feeling well, but putting it in a cute bun helped to keep me cool so it ended up being perfect. I brought along a matching pair of sunglasses too, but it ended up not being that sunny so I didn't need them. Into the purse they went!

My husband wasn't planning to come with me that day, but I wasn't feeling well and it was over 90 degrees on top of that, so I was thinking of not going which made me super bummed! I had already convinced all my friends to join me, but I live much farther so it was a long trip to do alone. I asked him to come and I think he felt bad for me so he joined as well! You can see by his face he was having so much fun joining us. That's sarcasm, by the way. He didn't enjoy the heat!

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PS- You can tell I love a theme and picked out my husband's outfit so he could match too! As for everyone else, well... I have no control over them! Haha. Overall it was a really fun event and I love getting dressed up in fun colors, so I call that a win! So crazy that soon I'll have a mini-me to bring to all these events.

I'm hoping to post about my cute and comfy outfits and adventures more often. Hopefully it'll encourage me to dress better- hah!

5 Tips to Speed Up Your Photography Process

Does this sound familiar? You have an idea for a photoshoot. You spend a day thinking about it, another day gathering supplies, and then another full day trying to find out where to set it up and take the photos. You try here, there, and everwhere, but in the end the photos are only mehhh. And, it took FOREVER. Maybe you don't even use the photos you took in the end! We all know that taking your time to create an amazing photo can really fun and rewarding. But sometimes, you just need a quick photo of a project, a product, or a process. What’s the best way to speed up the photography process, especially when you have lots of photos to take? Creating a routine, and sticking to it. These 5 tips will help you take quick and easy photos in no time!

 What’s the best way to speed up the photography process, especially when you have lots of photos to take? Creating a routine, and sticking to it. These 5 tips will help you take quick and easy photos in no time!

1. Be predictable.

Create a photo “template” aka the usual way you take photos. For me, that means an overhead shot with a piece of wrapping paper angled sideways. This can be pretty boring, so why am I suggesting it? First, it allows you to take photos without wondering how exactly to set them up. And second, it creates brand identity and makes you easily recognizable. There are PLENTY of opportunities to be creative. But sometimes you just gotta get things done without reinventing the wheel each time. 

2. Create an editing workflow.

Once you’ve perfected your photo template, you've gotta perfect your editing workflow. Create a process where you can batch edit your photos and speed through them. This will also create brand identity since all your photos will have a similar look. Your website or shop will seem cohesive and will help people build trust in you. 

3. Keep all supplies together.

Whether it’s all in one box, one room, or one closet, having all your items in the same place will help drastically reduce the amount of time it takes for you to set up your photos. You’ll be able to grab everything you need in one go. Try your hardest to avoid the “whoops my extension cord is downstairs and my camera is in the car” dance. Why? Because any time spent running around is time you can get distracted by something else. And believe me, chances are you will!

4. Plan ahead.

Some factors are better for photography than others. The weather, time of day, and even the season can all have an effect on your photography. So, plan ahead! Check the weather app to see which days will be sunny (or partly sunny) and try to take your photos then. Add the photoshoot to your calendar, so you don't miss the best weather OR the best time of day. And, be sure to gather all your supplies before the day of the shoot and have them ready to go. It's way better to go shopping for props on a rainy Wednesday than on a sunny Saturday when you were hoping to take your pics!

5. Batch photos.

While everything is set up and ready, do ALL the photos you need to take. If you’re doing different poses or angles (like flatlays and model shots) batch those too! All the flatlays at once, all the model shots at once. Any time you can avoid moving lights, backdrops, etc. around is time saved. In the editing process you can batch your photos together if you need to (like by keyword, or into folders) otherwise once you name them they’ll magically group together! 

Taking your own photos doesn't have to take tons of time. With a bit of planning, you can speed up the process and take even better photos than you imagined!

If you're looking to improve your photos further, I'm creating a FREE photography e-course to help you do just that! Be sure to sign up and get your workbook by clicking the photo below!

6 Myths About Photography That Are Completely Wrong

When it comes to taking your own photos for your blog and business, there are excuses and limitations all over the board. On the "selling" side, people are trying to get you to buy into the fact that you can't take your own photos, so you should invest in nice stock photos (that they provide, by the way!) to give your business a professional, polished look. But what's professional about having the same laptop-flowers-and-coffee-mug photos as everyone else? On the other hand, creators buy into it, because they have a myriad of excuses as to why they can't possibly take their own photos. They don't have the time, or the space, or the equipment. Well, my friends, I'm here to tell you that it's just not true! Here are some common photography myths surrounding bloggers, Etsy shop owners, and business owners.

 When it comes to taking your own photos for your blog and business, there are excuses and limitations all over the board. Well, my friends, I'm here to tell you that they're just not true! Here are some common photography myths surrounding bloggers, Etsy shop owners, and business owners that I've debunked.

1. You need a fancy camera to take good photos.

Um, FALSE! Most cell phones these days have amazing photo quality, right in your pocket. As long as you know what to do, you can use your cell phone to take amazing photos. Haven't you seen the Apple BILLBOARDS (yes, billboards!) that feature iPhone photos? If Apple can use it for their large-scale marketing, you can use it for your business!

2. There's no point in having a fancy camera if you don't know how to use it.

Just as your cell phone's camera is an amazing tool for its size, having a "fancy camera" can also have its perks. While I don't recommend going out and buying the most expensive one on the market, it can be helpful to have a fancy camera, even if you don't know all the features. Overall, it can yield better results if used properly. And by properly, I don't even necessarily mean on manual mode. There's actually a lot you can do with only a few features. I don't know how to use all the modes on my camera, but I gotta say that upgrading from my old camera definitely improved my photo quality. So, don't knock it- you may be able to hack it to take better photos!

3. You can't take good photos indoors or at night.

Yep, totally false! My house has less-than-ideal lighting, even at the best parts of the day. Plus, sometimes I need to snap some pics at night. Although taking pictures during the day is better, you can still get great quality photos at night with the right setup. You'll just need to make a few investments (like these lights) and create a good editing process, and you're good to go!

4. It takes a pro to use Photoshop.

While Photoshop is an amazing product with so so soooo many features, you can still get a lot out of it as an amateur. It has a relatively low price point ($10/month) and there's always more to learn on it. Don't get overwhelmed though- you can learn the very basics of the program so that you can use it to your advantage on a daily basis, and use those special extra features only when you need them. After all, it's great to have the option to use them, even if you don't.

5. Taking your own photos takes way too much time.

If you're creating a new setup every single time you're taking a photo- using different lighting, angles, cameras, locations, etc. then yes. Taking your own photos can be VERY time consuming, especially when you factor in editing. BUT if you take the time to create a process that works for you, taking photos will be insanely easy. Taking photos will become second nature, as will the editing process. Creating a routine that works for you will take all the guess work out, saving you time AND hassle. Be sure to check out this post (LINK) for more information about that!

6. You can't take good photos because you don't have enough room.

If you constantly compare yourself to huge brands or businesses that have been successful for years and have an enormous photo studio to work with, then yea- it'll take forever to get to their level. However, there are plenty of successful businesses, bloggers, and Etsy shops that take great photos from inside their home without a huge professional studio setup. There are tons of small-space options that you can use until you have budget or space to upgraded. For example, did you know that I take my photos in a small area the size of an ikea desk? And yet, I am able to take great photos there! I have sloped ceilings, a fairly narrow room, and 1,000 tripping hazards but I made it work. And I guarantee that if you took the time to develop a system, you would too!

Do you feel a bit more empowered to try taking your own photos for your shop, blog, or business? I hope so! There's so much possibility when you learn to take your own photos.

If you're looking to improve your photos further, I'm creating a FREE photography e-course to help you do just that! Be sure to sign up and get your workbook by clicking the photo below!

Got any other myths holding you back? Let me know in the comments below and I'll debunk them!

DIY & Affordable Photo Backdrops

Today I want to talk about something a little different- photography backdrops! As you know, good photography is very important (especially here at Party HarDIY!) and sometimes you need to be creative about your photo backdrops. I had written a blog post about my favorite photography items a few months ago, so I wanted to follow up with some other backdrop options that you can try! These backdrops come in a variety of prices from all sorts of places. I hope it helps you to think about your photos in a new way!

*This post contains affiliate links

 DIY & Affordable Photo Backdrops

Paper Backdrops

 DIY & Affordable Photo Backdrops

DIY Polly Pocket Iron-On Tee with Backdrop Paper in No. 37 Tulip

Backdrop Paper 
Probably the easiest to use, this backdrop paper is meant for photography! It's got a wide variety of colors and it's matte, so you don't need to worry about weird reflections in your photos. Also, it comes on super wide rolls, so you can have a seamless backdrop without having to photoshop out weird edges or seams. I even used it to make my wall look pink once! It can be a bit pricey but if you're careful, you can get maximum usage out of it.

Scrapbook Paper 
Available at any craft store or online, in literally any color or pattern you can think of, scrapbook paper is an affordable way to create a backdrop for small items. You can also layer the paper in interesting ways or angle it, etc.

Colored Cardstock
Colored cardstock is great for photographing small items like jewelry. I made a small hole in mine for the earrings, and I was able to keep the earrings in place while also keeping the look consistent across the different colors of paper and style of earrings. 

 DIY & Affordable Photo Backdrops

DIY No Sew Embellished Shirt with wrapping paper backdrop

Wrapping Paper 
A nice mix of the papers above, I think wrapping paper is a great way to add some color or pattern affordably. It does have a slight sheen to it, so it can add a colorful "glow" to your items, but it's cheap enough to get tossed away. I love using it for DIY posts, which can get pretty messy. You can easily gather up the paper and toss it out- barely any cleanup needed!

Easel Paper Roll
Again, this type of paper is great for when you're making a mess! I used it when I was painting my colorful blocks and I wanted to keep the backdrop neutral. It allowed me to paint freely without having a bunch of cleanup after. It's also great for making a clean white backdrop or covering a table with some scratches on it.

Wood & Paint

 DIY & Affordable Photo Backdrops

Pineapple Garland DIY with a Wood Backdrop

Painted Abstract Backdrop
If you're looking for something quirky and fun, this painted backdrop is for you! Damask Love used it as a large backdrop for portraits but you could totally make a smaller tabletop version if you wanted! 

Solid Color Photo Backdrops
If durable but simple is more your jam, try this painted wood backdrop! It's really easy to make using plywood panels and house paint samples. 

Stained Wood Backdrop
If you like something a little more rustic, try a stained wood backdrop! This tutorial shows you how to whitewash as well as how to add a colored tint to your wood. 

Colored Wood Paneling
If you like the look of paneling, or if you want it to look like a floor/wall, try this colored paneling DIY. This one is so cute, I think I may just have to make one for myself!
 

Party Backdrops

 DIY & Affordable Photo Backdrops

Hey Girl: Ryan Gosling Gender Reveal with Paper Fan Backdrop

Paper Fans
Paper fans are such a cool and easy way to make a statement! I have used them countless times, as both a small photo backdrop or a large scale party table backdrop. I never use the glue it comes with and instead prefer to paper clip them or staple them so that they're reusable! More info on that here.

Balloons
Although they aren't great for the environment, balloons can be such a cool way to make a statement! You can do a balloon arch, make them into letters or numbers... the possibilities are endless! Check out my Balloon Pinterest board for some fun ideas.

Sequin Tablecloths & Runners
If you've got a sequin table runner or tablecloth, they make a PERFECT sparkly backdrop for your pics! You can see how I used it here and here (scroll down).

 DIY & Affordable Photo Backdrops

DIY Disco Ball Earrings with Fringe Curtain Backdrop

Fringe Curtains
These are a super cheap and easy way to transform an ordinary wall. They're fairly large and come in all sorts of colors, so they make the perfect backdrop! They're sold everywhere- Amazon, Party City, even the dollar store!

Crepe Paper Streamers
Another dollar store staple, these party streamers make a really cool backdrop! You can mix and match colors, do various shades of the same color, or do all one color to create some depth as a backdrop. You can use them hanging on the wall with a piece of tape, or you can lay them down on a tabletop and place your item on top of them. Works either way!

Misc

 DIY & Affordable Photo Backdrops

Mean Girls Conversation Hearts and Fabric Backdrop

Fabric
Although it can be wrinkled sometimes, a piece of fabric is a great way to add a pop of color to your photos. It comes in all sorts of colors, patterns adn textures, plus everyone has it lying around their house somewhere. For one post, I even used the fabric from my ironing board as a backdrop! You can also grab a curtain, a blanket or a tablecloth too!

Foam Boards
In what is probably the easiest and cheapest backdrop of all, you can grab some foam boards from your local dollar store or Target and use those for a backdrop. They're also great for bouncing light, so be sure to place them around your subject while facing the window (aka... don't block the window light with a foam board!) to maximize the light coming in.

 DIY & Affordable Photo Backdrops

Tissue Paper
I think I've only used tissue paper as a backdrop once, but I really liked the look so I have to try it again! Since tissue paper is somewhat sheer, it can give you an interesting look if you layer it over another pattern/paper. Mine had some folds, and it made for a great, lightly textured background. And best of all, it's cheap!

Vinyl Backdrop & Stand
I have my vinyl backdrop and stand permanently set up in my attic studio. Since the walls are sloped up there, it acts as a "fake wall" so that there isn't a giant shadow where the ceiling bends (see before pics here). It's large and wide, and can be even wider if you placed it the other way! I've used it on nearly every  and you can't even tell it's a fake wall most of the time!

 DIY & Affordable Photo Backdrops

Cutting Mat
If you're a DIY blogger, chances are you'll be cutting something at some point! If you use a cutting mat, why not incorporate it as the backdrop of a photo? Mine is this really cool, bright pink color and it really adds a pop of color to a photo.

Matte PVC Backdrop
I saved the best for last! This is my most used backdrop, hands down. It's literally the backdrop in nearly every single photo I have. It cleans easily, it's bright white, and it's the perfect size for nearly every flatlay and DIY shoot I do. I purchased the entire collection of them, but I really only use the white one. I've had it for nearly 2 years now and I only had to replace it once because I spilled oil paint on it and it just wouldn't come off. After that, I made sure to use a cover in case things got too messy.

Well, there you have it! Tons of backdrop options for your next photo shoot. If you're looking to improve your photos further, I'm creating a FREE photography e-course to help you do just that! Be sure to sign up and get your workbook by clicking the photo below!