photo RecentPostswithArrows_zpsba19282c.jpg

Friday, June 21, 2013

Confessions of an Instagram Novice


For the social media job I have this summer, I've had to learn Instagram in a hurry.  I've never really been much for Instagram because I don't have a smart phone and only recently bought a tablet.  Without either of those, Instagram isn't really an option.  Yes, you can upload pictures, but most of the features like sharing Instagrams, searching hashtags, and easily adding decorations, happens most easily (or is only available) through the mobile app.

So far, I have both a love and hate of Instagram--well, more an intrigued but uncertain type of relationship.  I'm not yet ready to rave and not yet ready to give up.  Instead, I'll share my observations and welcome feedback from those of my readers who are more Instagram savvy.

What I learned so far . . . .
  1. IFTTT works really well with Instagram.  I've set up a recipe so that when I post to Instagram, it automatically saves the picture to Dropbox (which is super handy when I need the picture at later times) and to post to Twitter.  This means that the Instagram hashtag (that allows me to engage in keyword searching in Instagram) becomes an active Twitter hashtag once it shares on Twitter.   
  2. I wish I had made my Instagram handle the same as my Twitter handle.   I got this suggestion from someone later and it makes so much sense now.  That way, if someone adds your Instagram handle and that is Tweeted, it can then also reference your Twitter account.  
  3. The best Instagram app I've found is Pic Stitch.   This insight was shared with me by one of the girls on my staff who is becoming my go to for help with Instagram.  You can make collages and add more effects. 
What I like most . . . 
I like how candid Instagram allows you to be with your pictures.  I mean, so much of Pinterest and the world of food blogging has such a formal, orchestrated and arranged look.  The focus is more on professionalism.  I like that Instagram allows you to be impromptu and casual, and that is somewhat freeing.  There are very artsy pictures on Instagram, but the core seems to be turning everyday into art.  

What I like least . . . 
This answer changes with every week I use the program.  Not in a bad way, but in a the more I use it, the more I get the hang of it, the more I like it.  But, when I first started using it, I couldn't figure out things like sharing pics.

Here are the only two main concrete cons I have.  One, is that before you post the picture, you can share to Twitter, Facebook, and a couple other places.  However, if you share to Facebook, you can't post to a Page, but only to your personal page.  So, I can post to my Facebook Page, but not my blog's Facebook page.  Two, I wish I could do more things from my a desktop browser.  In my case, I've got several different people Instagramming under one account.   So, when they post and I want to do something with the picture, I can't do it from the computer I'm working on; I have to move to my tablet or phone, and that is just a pain.  Not a big deal pain, but an annoyance.  

So, I'm looking forward to learning more, but am finding myself a slightly slow learner.  I'll let you know if I pick up any new insights as I go along and would gladly accept tips from those of you reading this post!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Make Your Own Chai Mix

Sorry for the hiatus.  This summer I am teaching four classes and working in the Audience Development department of a local repertory theater.  So, between all of that, I can't promise that I will be the most regular of bloggers this summer.  I will try and do my best!

Chai Mix Ingredients
In the spirit of hiatus, I thought I'd also take a break from the "IT" part of IT Foodie and take a moment to just be a "foodie."  I've missed doing recipe posts, which I used to do in my old blog.  Plus, I made a new concoction that I thought you, dear readers, might enjoy.

A couple of months ago, I started making my own chai mix.  I love chai and it is so good for you.  But, despite how much I love it, I was surprised how little I made chai at home.  I bought it all the time; but, I wasn't such a fan of how sweet it is when you buy it out and I didn't like all of the extra ingredients that come in chai mixes.  However, I rarely took the time to make it because I didn't always have all of the spices and felt like it was a little step intensive on a busy morning.

So, I decided to create my own chai mix.  If I wanted to, I could really go all in by using instant tea and powdered milk.  But, instead, I just make the mix in advance and then use my french press to prepare it.  This means that making chai in the morning is really easy.  I can boil the water while I'm in the shower.  Then, I combine a cup of boiling water to 1.5-2 (depending on how strong I want it) tablespoons of mix and microwave 1 cup of milk while I eat breakfast.  Then, while I finish getting ready, I can add the warm milk to the seeping chai so that it can all meld and marry.  Finally, before I walk out the door, I pour it into a travel mug (the french press will strain out the debris), and have warm chai for my morning commute.  Or, I can make a larger batch, stick it in the refrigerator and have iced chai, or make it with coffee instead of water for a play on a dirty chai.

I've included the proportions of the mix below.  I use about 2 tablespoons of mix to 1 cup of water and 1 cup of milk.  So, this mix will will make quite a lot of chai and so is a very cost effective alternative to buying chai out.    Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Chai Mix Recipe Card --*you can substitute anise seeds for fennel

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Infographic of my "Top 6 Bookmarking Tools"

I love infographics and have started trying to play around with them.  This is the first one I have ever made and I used a program called infogr.am (which has potential, but has a lot of limitations).  The main feature of this infographic is that it lists my criteria for evaluating each bookmarking tool and then shows if the program fit the requirement.  This way you can easily identify what your needs are and whether the bookmarking tool fits.  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Evernote Post Appendix: Evernote App

This is an unplanned post, but in talking about Evernote I realized that I should probably cover the mobile App because it has a little more too it than the web version of Evernote.  I have to admit that I just got my first tablet this week, so I haven't used the Evernote app as much as I've used the browser version.  That means that this will be just a quick post on the topical stuff because I am still learning the more advanced stuff myself. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Top Bookmarking Tools: #1-Evernote

For the finale of my "Top Bookmarking Tools" series, I am posting on Evernote.  Evernote really deserves the top spot because it takes what I like most about the bookmarking tools I've discussed: clipping, notation, easy marking, sharing, etc., and puts it in one program.  On top of that, it is compatible with Android and Apple, and can be used with IFTTT

If all that is gibberish, I'll break it down. . . .

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Top Bookmarking Tools: #2-Pocket


Pocket is a really handy, everywhere-you-want-to-be bookmarking tool.  It allows for clear organization, easy clipping, and even the ability to search within your own Pocket account.  Plus, you can use it on a desktop browser, offline (a feature that is mentioned but I've not utilized), or on-the-go with either the iPad/iPhone and Android apps.  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Top Bookmarking Tools: #3-Curate.us


In hindsight, it was probably a little ambitious ranking the next bookmarking tool as #3.  The limitation of it are pretty hefty, but my ranking of Curate.us in the #3 spot happened because it is probably one of the most fun and playful bookmarking tool to use. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Top Bookmarking Tools: #4-Twitter

Twitter is probably my most unorthodox bookmarking tool on the list.   I chose it because bookmarking with Twitter kills many birds with one stone; you get to create a reading list while also being active on Twitter.  However, it is one that requires a little set-up and planning.  So, I'll try to explain the rationale, talk to you about tools you'll need, and then provide a screencast on how to do it.   

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Top Bookmarking Tools: #5-Pinterest

In the Google+ post I did on suggestions for tools for bloggers, one of the organization tools mentioned by +Roxana Yawgel was using a secret Pinterest Board to organize her reading.  This was a great suggestion and one that makes a lot of sense.  Most people are on Pinterest regularly and most sites include a "Pin it" option.  So, pinning your reading list is pretty quick and easy, plus it stores in a site that you regularly use.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Top Bookmarking Tools: #6--Symbaloo


I've mentioned Symbaloo, which is a visual bookmarking program, in previous posts ("Symbaloo" and "Archiving Posts with Symbaloo").  In both of these, I mainly focused on how food bloggers can use Symbaloo to organize their own websites and to archive their posts.  I've still toyed around with other archiving options, but I still use Symbaloo on my "Missed a Post" page to help people explore old posts.