Alys Beach, Florida | City Guide | 30A

This post is the first in a series featuring several towns along Florida’s famous Highway 30A. This post: Alys Beach, Florida. Next up: Rosemary Beach. 
City Guide to Alys Beach Florida 30A - Places to eat Where to Shop BrendaDaltoncom
When it time for gettin’ a little fancy on 30A, head to Alys Beach (pronounced like Alice!). Alys Beach is one of the newest communities along 30A and is coming along nicely over the last five years – new shops and quick eats are popping up all the time, plus they host a number of fabulous festivals and events.
Stop by the Alys Shoppe to pick up Alys Beach-branded tees, Tervis cups, beach towels and more, plus unique boutique items for men, women and children. A number of parks, pools and green spaces are thoughtfully placed throughout the community and while you need a code to access the beach and pools, the stunning New Urbanism plan in the community encourages you to wander and admire.
Fonville Press is the perfect way to start and end your day in Alys Beach. This multi-purpose storefront serves coffee and newspapers in the morning and cocktails, iced tea and lunch bites in the afternoon, and cocktails and conversation in the evenings. With charming little tables outside to enjoy the gulf breeze, it’s hard to be in a rush in this quiet, luxurious community.
Alys Beach City Guide | 30A Florida City Guide by brendadalton.com
George’s at Alys Beach‘s gluten-free selection has been raved about, especially for GF fine dining. Disclaimer: Fine dining on the beach is not the same as the rest of the world. Yes, the food is beautiful and delicious, but a sundress, capris or a nice top will do you just dandy. After all, we made our way to Alys Beach from Rosemary Beach on bikes for dinner!
George’s hosts a great number of indoor, covered and outdoor seating. With an expansive covered deck, you can duck out of the sun on those hot days or get a front row seat to the sunset on their patio.
This Alys Beach gem is the perfect spot for gluten-free diners. With half the menu with that lovely “GF” next to the items, there are plenty of options to choose from. Keep in mind their menu changes seasonally, so what might be mentioned here in the blog might not be what’s currently on the menu. Either way, don’t fret because it is alllllll delicious.

George's at Alys Beach offers great options for gluten-free dining to please every palate.

George’s at Alys Beach gluten-free musts: Jerk-crusted gulf snapper with forbidden black rice, pineapple salsa, plantains, and a coconut rum molasses

Last minute tips for a perfect stay on 30A in Alys Beach:

  • Arrive at George’s soon after they open for prime seating: They don’t take reservations
  • Rent a vacation home for a night or two to enjoy the pools, fitness center, and beach access
  • Stop for ice cream or a quick, casual bite to eat at one of the many food trucks and trailers situated near the amphitheater and Town Center

Disclaimer: Always contact restaurants in advance for their current gluten-free options and alert the restaurants you’re dining at if you have a gluten allergy or celiac disease. Reviews on brendadalton.com do not guarantee a cross contamination-free zone and complete safety from gluten or wheat.

2017 Father’s Day Gift Guide

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation if you choose to purchase any products linked below at no extra charge to you! Click here to view our disclosure policy.


Let’s be honest: Your dad doesn’t really want a new necktie for Father’s Day. Does he ever wear neckties? Probably not anymore. Think outside the box of ties and wallets this Father’s Day and find the perfect gift to suit dads across the board, no matter his favorite hobby.

Gift for the Always Prepared Dad

Eton American Red Cross, Multi-Powered, Smartphone Charger, Weather Alert Radio and Flashlight in One
This gift covers several categories: The camper, the boy scout, the weather-wise dad… and many more! This multi-powered smartphone charger, weather alert radio and flashlight in one covers all the bases for being in the outdoors, dealing with weather emergencies or for the dad that just likes to put a little man-power into charging his phone. While it charges via USB, the cool thing about this all-in-one is that you can charge it by cranking the handle in case you lose access to power.

Gift for the Craft Beer Dad

Wooden Beer Caddy & Handcrafted Carrier
Treat dad to his favorite beers for Father’s Day, stored in a sturdy wooden six-pack holder with metal bottle opener. It features a clean, vintage design that fits in with any decor – whether it finds a place in the kitchen, on the porch, in the garage or displayed proudly in the man cave. Tip: You can mix and match bottled beer at most liquor stores – don’t forget to include a local brew, too.

Gift for the Zombie Apocalypse Dad

Zombie Preparedness Man Crate
Not only is this the perfect gift for a Walking Dead fan, this supply-filled crate can only be opened with a crowbar. Talk about a manly man gift! Complete with a Zombie Survival Guide, flashlight, first aid kit, duct tape, Spam and weapons (yes, weapons – how else will you rid the world of zombies?), you can upgrade each crate for more food and supplies like shovels and fire starters.

Gift for the Sky’s the Limit Dad

Flying Lessons or Flight Experience
If your dad loves the clear skies, is a history buff or generally loves the feeling of the wind beneath his wings, flying lessons are the perfect gift! Check out your local flight school or aviation museum for options. Many flight museums offer some of their historic aircraft for one-time flights or purchase a set number of lessons for dad to get his wheels off the ground and learn to pilot small aircraft.

Gift for the Fashion-Forward Dad

Your dad is always on time, but never responds to your messages? The Fossil Q Smartwatch is a stylish watch that can be dressed up or down and looks a bit more natural than the other smartwatch competitors. This watch can be set up for iPhone or Android, tracks your steps and can connect to texts, emails, calendar alerts and a number of different apps. Looking for a watch that’s a bit more classic and budget-friendly? Leather watches are always on trend.

Gift for the Tech-Savvy Dad

The technology on Amazon’s Echo has made leaps and bounds since it was released in 2014. Whether dad’s busting out the jams, ordering pantry items or catching up on the news that matters to him in the mornings, the Echo pairs with the most popular websites and apps for seamless information. For the father’s that’s really, really into technology, pair it with the Philips Hue Color Starter Kit and pair to with WeMo, Nest and other smart home technology for an all-in-one technology homebase. For a more budget-friendly option, check out the Echo Dot.

Gift for the Fitness Fanatic Dad

Fitbit Charge 2
Does your dad spend his weekends blazing new trails on his bike, collecting half-marathon medals or can’t go a Saturday morning without his Crossfit? No matter what workout suits his fancy, the Fitbit Charge 2 tracks sleep patterns, heart rate and displays calls and texts – perfect for when you want to remind him who his favorite child is, right? This Fitbit goes well beyond counting steps and alerts you to when you’re working within your ideal heart rate zone for fat burn, cardio and peak performance, whether he’s running, biking or weight lifting. The silent vibrating alarm is also a great feature so he doesn’t wake his better half for those 5 a.m. workouts.

Gift for the Jet-Setting Dad

Upgrade dad’s beat up suitcase with this modern, sturdy duffel. Perfect for weekend trips or business travel, this canvas and leather bag is carry-on friendly for flights and small enough for the car. Pair this bag with a gift card for and airline or his favorite out-of-town restaurant and you’ve given him the perfect excuse to put this bag to use!

What is on your dad’s wishlist this Father’s Day? 

Seaside, Florida | City Guide | 30A

This post is the first in a series featuring several towns along Florida’s famous Highway 30A. This post: Seaside, Florida. Next post: Alys Beach. 
City Guide to Seaside Florida 30A - Places to eat Where to Shop from BrendaDaltoncom
Seaside, Florida is a sweet little town on Florida’s famous Highway 30A. You may recognize it from The Truman Show. Remember how that little town Jim Carrey’s character lived in seemed a little TOO perfect? Well, it exists. In real life. And people actually live and play here. And it’s amazing.
In Seaside, you’ll find adorable boutiques like Willow + Woods, Bump & Baby for the littles and the family-owned Sundog Books. It also has the most charming little grocery and deli – with gluten-free desserts! – a row of food trailers, and a number of events at the Seaside Amphitheater like story time, farmers markets and concerts.
Seaside Beach Pavilion - Visiting Seaside Florida 30A
It’s also home to a number of beautiful beach pavilions designed by world-famous architects. Those alone are worth a quick stop and walk around!

Check out the best spots to see, dine and shop in Seaside, Florida! Click To Tweet

Bud & Alley’s

Bud & Alleys - Seaside Florida - Gluten Free - Visitors Guide
Our first stop in Seaside was a visit to Bud & Alley’s for breakfast. If you’re looking for THE view of the beach, the gulf and the crystal clear waters while having a drink and a bite to eat… don’t go anywhere else but Bud & Alley’s.
While the gluten-free options were limited, I was still able to dine on a huuuuuge omelet with fresh veggies and a slightly spicy crumbled chicken sausage and fruit. Not kidding with the huuuuuge part. It could have easily been split between two people with room to spare!
Just stopping by for a drink? The bar has a clever little trick: Despite the bar’s facing away from the gorgeous views, they’ve installed a mirror that gives you – yes, those same ideal landscape that’s right behind you without making your turn around on your stool. After all, turning around too many times in a bar stool with a mojito in hand could end dangerously.
Bud & Alley’s gluten-free breakfast musts: Omelet of the day (check with your server for GF options!) and a killer view

Great Southern Cafe

Courtesy of Great Southern Cafe

Courtesy of Great Southern Cafe

 

Ah, Great Southern Cafe. This is one of my faaaaavorite joints on all of 30A – it’s a combination of amazing food, friendly, accommodating staff, a no-rush attitude and a cool breeze under a glorious covered patio. Oh, and the best mojitos on the planet don’t hurt, either.

These folks are pretty well-versed on gluten-free dining. Most of the fish dishes are a great call – the balsamic salmon salad is a home run and who can ever go wrong with gulf shrimp one block from the gulf? For those non-gluten-free diners, I’ve heard the Mahi sandwich, gumbo and fried green tomatoes are all a can’t miss.
However.
HOWEVER.
Let me introduce you to one of my favorite meals in the entire world: Grits à Ya Ya.
It’s a relatively simple shrimp and grits dish, but with melt-in-your-mouth smoked gouda added to the grits and a topping of applewood smoked bacon, spinach and mushrooms. You’d think this would be a heavier dish while traipsing on the beach, but somehow, the Great Southern Cafe makes it work.
Let your server know you have a gluten allergy and with a minor change, this dish is easily gluten-free! After three times dining here, I’ve never once gotten a photo of my shrimp and grits. Why? Because it smells so delicious, I dive in before I can even take a photo. No lie. Self-control is brutal and sometimes you have to just go for the grits.
Great Southern Cafe gluten-free musts: Caprese salad, Grits à Ya Ya, coconut mojito

Last minute tips for a perfect stay on 30A in Seaside:

  • Bring an umbrella: Pop-up showers are incredibly common.
  • Grab a postcard at Sundog Books: Mail it at one of the cutest post offices in the country
  • Leave your car in park: Seaside is incredibly walkable and you can make use of the bikes to get around
  • Get to the beach early: Seaside has several public beach access points, unlike many other towns along 30A

 

Disclaimer: Always contact restaurants in advance for their current gluten-free options and alert the restaurants you’re dining at if you have a gluten allergy or celiac disease. Reviews on brendadalton.com do not guarantee a cross contamination-free zone and complete safety from gluten or wheat.

Relaxed Dinner Party Playlist | Spotify Playlist

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation if you choose to purchase any products linked below at no extra charge to you! Click here to view our disclosure policy.

This dinner party playlist is part of our series of Spotify playlists for every occasion.
View the whole series here!

Relaxed Chill Dinner Party Playlist from Spotify - brendadaltoncom | Music

 

RSVPs counted. check.

Clean house. check.

Cocktails mixed. check.

Sound of crickets. wait, what?!

Before your first guest walks in the door, make sure you have a playlist ready to go! After all, what’s a party without a good playlist that sets the mood?

Download the relaxed dinner party playlist!

This dinner party playlist is perfect for those chill nights catching up with friends over drinks, especially for those summer patio parties. Check out the embedded playlists from Spotify and Tidal at the end of this post.


Add this playlist to your faves and let the casual tunes run for the evening! This playlist has hints of blues, acoustic covers, hipster features, and off-the-beaten-path picks. Featuring the 1975, Hozier, HAIM, The Lumineers, Ray Lamontagne, Leon Bridges, The Civil Wars, and many more.

 

Sensitive Skin Beauty Products

Best Sensitive Skin Beauty Products

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation if you choose to purchase any products linked below at no extra charge to you! Click here to view our disclosure policy.


The Best Sensitive Skin Beauty Products by brendadalton.com including The Honest Company, CeraVe, Caudalie and more! Visit brendadalton.com to read more.

 

One of the biggest battles for ladies with autoimmune diseases and sensitive skin is finding the best sensitive skin beauty products that don’t irritate!

As I’ve probably mentioned once or twice or a thousand times here on the blog, I have a gluten allergy. The thing is, for the longest time I didn’t realize that beauty products that had some sort of wheat or gluten had a negative effect on my skin, too.

I was all about the oatmeal scrubs and shampoos for their sweet smell, even if they were approved for sensitive skin, no parabens and other nasty stuff, or even products marketed as safe for babies, yet… I was always breaking out. Soon enough came the epiphany: duh, gluten was in my hair products!

When looking for the best beauty products for sensitive skin, always keep an eye out for sulfates, parabens and gluten (the latter only if you are, in fact, sensitive/allergic to gluten, of course!). Reach for those hypoallergenic brands. Here’s a rundown of my top five favorite sensitive skin beauty products:

TONYMOLY I’m Real Sheet Masks

When I pair these heavenly smelling sheet masks with an epsom salt bath in my jacuzzi tub, everything is right in the world. Sure, you look a little scary when the sheet mask is on, but I use these 1-2 times per week to add a little extra moisture, soothe and rejuvenate my skin.

It also doesn’t hurt that these smell heavenly! My favorites of the TONYMOLY I’m Real Sheet Masks are the red wine, tea tree, and rice. They each have a specific purpose and even the more strange scents like tomato are surprisingly relaxing and lovely to smell.

Caudalie Micellar Water

I wasn’t sure what to think of the Micellar Water trend when it first hit. What happened to soap and water? Why do they call it water? How is it even going to clean my skin? Y’all. This little product is now in my nightly and morning routine. I have combination skin, so I never know when I’m going to wake up oily or dry.

As long as I use this micellar water, I have no issues. It’s gentle on my super sensitive skin, yet is still powerful enough to take off waterproof mascara at the end of the day with two cotton swabs. It has a very light, soothing scent and as a bonus, it boasts toning properties as well.

Baebody Eye Gel

I’ll be real: I have a little bit of a love-hate relationship with the Baebody Eye Gel. I’m 30. I know I need to use some sort of eye moisturizer on a daily basis, but there’s something about putting more things on my face after I cleanse. But, I notice a massive difference on the mornings after I use this Eye Gel. It’s a little sticky when you first put it on, but after about 5-10 minutes, you don’t feel a thing. It is tremendous in clearing up puffiness and under-eye circles.

My eye wrinkles are hardly existent (thanks, Ray Bans), but I do think this eye gel has played a massive part in it over the last year, too! I’ve tried dozens of different brands of eye moisturizers and this is the only one I’ve encountered that doesn’t sting or break me out — and breaking out on the sensitive skin around your eye is the worst!

Honest Company Orange Blossom Shampoo & Body Wash and Orange Blossom Conditioner

Not only did I find a gluten-free shampoo and conditioner duo from The Honest Company, but it’s made without silicones, parabens, synthetic fragrances, dyes, formaldehyde carriers, ethoxylates or PEGs. And it’s vegan! They now have a scent-free version if your skin is sensitive to any type of fragrance, but the orange blossom is my all-time favorite since it leaves a subtle scent in your hair that isn’t overpowering one bit. I just love this stuff.

Pssst, you can get 30% and free shipping on your first bundle from The Honest Company through this link! I set mine up to deliver every 6-8 weeks with shampoo, body wash, and sunscreen!

CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion

This one is a beauty staple for anyone with sensitive skin. It’s mild, no fragrance and doesn’t leave your skin feeling gooey like a lot of lotions. My routine is jump out of the shower, CeraVe it up, and within just a few minutes, my skin is dry and smooth and ready to get dressed. In my opinion, trying to put clothes on when your lotion is still wet and hasn’t soaked in is the absolute worst, especially if they leave streaks on your clothes. None of that with CeraVe lotion. I even keep the travel sizes in my purse!

Sensitive skin beauty products honorable mentions:


Disclaimer: Not all beauty products may be a good fit for your skin, despite claims of hypoallergenic, sensitive-skin safe, etc. These recommendations are an opinion only and brendadalton.com is not liable for any reactions or outcomes by purchasing products listed. Always test on a small portion of skin and check with your doctor for professional advice!

Four Things to Know When Diagnosed with a Chronic Illness

Note: As I work on becoming more transparent with my life with chronic illness, I’m featuring a blog post I wrote over three years ago, not too long after being diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis. I’d love to hear your story, too! Email me at hello AT brendadalton.com

New to the world of Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) or chronic illness? Hey! Me, too. About six months ago, while on a beach vacation with family, I woke up with major wrist pain. It escalated. Big time. Four doctors, five months, and several “it’s all in your head/nothing we can do’s” later, I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis by a rheumatologist. Here’s a bit of a crash course for staying sane when you’re diagnosed.

know your triggers

Triggers are different for everyone. Sure, there are some triggers that are across the board, but even then, it is to varying levels. A common one for PsA pals is gluten. Luckily, I didn’t have to go through the process of learning about PsA and deal with learning how to live without crusty garlic bread, chicken nuggets and the ease of eating out anywhere, anytime.

Why? Because I was already gluten sensitive! Ha.

Okay, I’m not laughing at you, if you’re trying to figure out your triggers and find out gluten is one of them. I’m laughing with you. Really. It may feel like the end of the world, but think about this: You’re not alone and it’s 2016.

Gluten-free foods are a lot more common than ever before. Sure, you’ll still get people who have no idea what gluten is and you’ll get eye-rolls when you ask for GF food because they think you’re on a “fad diet” and sometimes, if you’re not careful, you’ll get glutened (even in your own home because you forgot a brand was full of gluten).

Personally, my triggers are gluten, excess sugar, alcohol, stress/anxiety and cold fronts. Not counting the obvious triggers of too much physical activity. Others find nightshades (tomatoes, eggplants, etc.), rain or high humidity put them out of commission.

know your limits

This one is important. I’ve always been the type of person who can be up and going all day. In fact, before I segued into running my own business, I had a job that often kept me on my feet anywhere from four to 14+ hours straight.

As time wore on, fatigue set in. And it hit quickly. Frustration set in when going on a day trip or shopping for a day would leave me first, in absolute pain and second, fatigued and with burning joints for a day or three after.

I’ve learned that during holidays, visiting family, planning outings, I have to plan more than the event itself. It’s important for me to plan my week or at the very least, the day before and after the event.

It’s kind of a bummer that there are no spontaneous zip lining adventures or exploring, kayaking and going out for dinner in one day for me anymore, but man, do I thank myself when I allow a little self-care.

It has taken me months to be okay with taking a quick nap or even laying down for a little while in between client work.

It’s okay to have a rest. Don’t push yourself. It’s a battle – I consistently try to do too much and regret it the next day.

know your support system

Do you know why there are many players on a baseball team? Because they would look ridiculous trying to play pitcher and outfielder, that’s why. And they’d probably die of a heart attack from all of the running and stress.

Find your team. Your support system. A spouse, a parent, a sibling, a friend. There are even in-person and online support groups (hello, Facebook groups!) specifically for Psoriatic Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and more.

Have them hold you accountable. We all want to be strong and take care of ourselves, but with autoimmune diseases and chronic illnesses… that not always going to be easy.

It’s a hard pill to swallow. You’re going to get frustrated with your support system when they tell you to take it easy. You may feel pitied. You may even feel like you’re not heard. That’s normal.

Be open, honest and respectful with your support system. It’s okay to jump in the car with your mom and say, “I’m having a bad day.” Just please, please, please take advantage of your good and great days (or hours) and shout it from the rooftop.

Smile even when your arthritis hits your jaw and you can barely chew. Okay, that suggestion is way too chummy and inspirational for me, especially because wow, it really does suck when you try to smile with your arthritis jaw.

know your humor

Maybe that last sentence could have fallen into this category. I was in a pit of despair when PsA started to take a toll on me and especially before I found the right doctor and started treatment. In fact, it was a little like the stages of grief.

I come from a family that laughs, teases, loves sarcasm and makes jokes a ton. It’s a fact of life. There is no way I was going to let something like a chronic illness take the wind out of my sails on a daily basis.

Sausage fingers? Grab a bun and mustard. Arthritis just before you turn 30? Bring on the low-sugar, gluten-free cake and enough candles to blow the house down!

It’s okay to make fun of yourself. It’s okay to laugh at how our bodies are frankly, confused, and choose to fight against us. It’s okay to cry, too. Not everyday is going to be smiles, but trust me, you can laugh. You can power through. You got this.

Why You Need a Brand Style Guide ASAP

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation if you choose to purchase any products linked below at no extra charge to you! Click here to view our disclosure policy.

Why You Need A Brand Style Guide for Your Blog, Business or Organization.

As part of my design services, I create one piece of collateral for my clients that’s oh-so-important: A brand style guide. Different from a mood board, which often features images pulled from Pinterest, a color scheme and typography (font) ideas, the brand style guide is the be-all, end-all of your brand. The real deal.

While my style guides for clients vary from a one-sheet to a comprehensive ten-page style guide, it’s important as a blogger, small business or organization to have a piece of material that sums up your brand at a quick glance both for a variety of reasons.

Why You Should Have  Brand Style Guide - 835 Creative
Why You Should Have  Brand Style Guide - 835 Creative

Who does a brand style guide benefit?

You! The business owner, head honcho, founder, creative director.

Whoever you are at the top of your business or organization, this is what sums up the face of your brand identity. If you’re not design-savvy, your brand style guide is a quick and easy way to access your colors, your logos and fonts, whether you’re creating a Facebook cover photo in InDesign or a blog post graphic in Canva.

Your employees.

If you’re working with contractors for your social media or design projects or bringing on full-time employees, it’s important to have a style guide to bring your brand style into the forefront of your employees’ minds. Plus, it makes it a cinch for your employees to know your exact colors and other elements that help market and promote your blog or business. Because “light blue” just isn’t going to cut it as a color description when you’re dealing with designers or printing companies. Bonus: Have Pantone colors on your style guide.

The outside world.

I say outside world since it depends on your niche. At some point, you’re going to be working with someone outside of your business or blog.

A brand style guide lets advertisers, sponsors, collaborators, fellow bloggers and the media know which logos are appropriate to use in print, on television or online, plus it will give them a quick idea of your style – both visually and your voice. You’ll be surprised at how often even larger organizations can stretch your logo, recolor your logo or even call you by the wrong name! Providing a brand style guide nips it in the bud and makes it easier to approach any oops! that may come up when promoting your blog or business.

Why You Should Have  Brand Style Guide - 835 Creative
Why You Should Have  Brand Style Guide - 835 Creative
Why You Should Have  Brand Style Guide - 835 Creative
Why You Should Have  Brand Style Guide - 835 Creative
Why You Should Have  Brand Style Guide - 835 Creative

Style guide for MaggieGentry from 835 Creative

What should I include in a brand style guide?

As I mentioned earlier, a brand style guide can be as simple as a one sheet or be ten, twenty or even fifty pages long and go into specifics of your brand’s voice, imagery and more; however, let’s be real: the only ones with fifty-page style guides are massive corporations with many entities (Think: FedEx, Mars, Coca-Cola, etc.)

Here are a few ideas of what to include in your brand style guide:

  • Primary logo
  • Alternative logo(s)
  • One-color logo(s)
  • Brandmarks or icons
  • Colors – RGB, HEX, CMYK, Pantone
  • Patterns
  • Textures
  • Typefaces (fonts)
  • Tagline
  • Logo restrictions
  • Mission statement
  • Vision statement
  • Collateral examples
  • Catchphrases
  • Images & image style
  • Hashtags
  • Website URL & details
  • About/Biography/History
  • Partners or members

Cheatsheet: Adobe InDesign Keyboard Shortcuts & Commands

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation if you choose to purchase any products linked below at no extra charge to you! Click here to view our disclosure policy.

Work quickly and efficiently with the InDesign Keyboard Shortcut Cheatsheet with Commands on text, pages and more. Click to download the PDF cheatsheet!

When I taught graphic design to college students for the first time, I had been an avid user of Adobe Creative Cloud – then known as Creative Suite – for at least a solid decade. One thing I learned with my first students was that those commands I could do in my sleep by waving my fingers across a keyboard… Well, they didn’t come naturally to anyone. Period.

That was a huge shock (ha!) when I went through my first tutorial in lab and within the first few minutes was greeted with, “Whoa! Slow down! How did you do that?” On the screen, it probably looked magical. The mouse wasn’t moving to the toolbar on the left side of the screen, yet tools would appear, actions would happen and boom, tutorial complete.

That, my friends, is the magic of keyboard shortcuts and commands.

Download the InDesign Shortcut Command Printable Cheatsheet!

If you’re relatively new – or haven’t used it for a while! – InDesign keyboard shortcuts just aren’t second nature. You’ve probably watched video tutorials online where they move so incredibly fast as they name off the steps, you have to watch it ten times.

These shortcuts will save you time when working on your blog graphics, business marketing materials and more. After all, saved seconds add up to minutes, minutes to hours and that’s money saved in the long run, right?

Work quickly and efficiently with the InDesign Keyboard Shortcut Cheatsheet with Commands on text, pages and more. Click to download the PDF cheatsheet!

tips on indesign shortcuts

Don’t get overwhelmed. Jump to the bottom of this post and download the PDFs. Print them out or even half your screen as you work on projects in InDesign so you can reference your shortcuts. You’ll be surprised how quickly they get burned into your brain!

  • The cheatsheets focus on Mac users, but Windows users, don’t fear! Anytime you see the command symbol (⌘),  press Control instead.
  • “Tools” shortcuts only use one letter or symbol on the keyboard. This makes the chosen tool active. You’ll click as needed to use it, just as you would if you manually selected it from the toolbar.
  • “Command” shortcuts require you to press all designated keys at the same time. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t quite get the hang of the more complicated, three-plus key shortcuts.

Do you use shortcuts to expedite work in InDesign?
What is your favorite shortcut to use? Comment below!

The Five-Minute Photo Fix: Take Better iPhone Photos Instantly

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation if you choose to purchase any products linked below at no extra charge to you! Click here to view our disclosure policy.

Have you ever wondered how to get that crisp, clear, perfect image on Instagram? How some food photos look good enough to eat, while others look a little… ick?

In this week’s quick tip of the week, I’ll show you how to turn your food photo from “are you sure that’s edible?” to “holy cow, get in my belly now!” in less than five minutes. That’s no joke – it’s THAT easy. Really, the most difficult thing about this tutorial is not eating the cookies before I finished taking photos. 

The Five-Minute Photo Fix. Turn your food photo from "are you sure that's edible?" to "holy cow, get in my belly now!" in less than five minutes.  Really, the most difficult thing about this tutorial is not eating the cookies while shooting!

what you’ll need

Here’s what you’ll need to produce a studio-quality image in five minutes flat:

  • A spot near a window
  • Daylight (clouds or sunshine work!)
  • A sheet of white paper
  • Your object(s)

This little trick is all about lighting. By using daylight near a window and not in direct sunlight, you’ll create the nice, soft shadows. Is it cloudy out? Even better! The after photo in this post was actually taken on a very overcast day. With sunlight, your shadows will be a bit harsher, but cloudy will give you just enough light, unless of course, it’s thunderstorming.

the set up

The set up is so incredibly easy. Grab a spot near a window. Grab a sheet of white paper – even the simple, day-to-day computer paper works. As long as your object is smaller that the paper, you’re golden. Here’s a look at my crazy simple set up. It’s almost funny how simple it is:

The Five-Minute Photo Fix. Turn your food photo from "are you sure that's edible?" to "holy cow, get in my belly now!" in less than five minutes.  Really, the most difficult thing about this tutorial is not eating the cookies while shooting!

I lightly fold the sheet of paper to more easily prop the piece of paper up against an object behind the subject (in this case, cookies). When you shoot, you’ll be eye-level with your subject, which will give the image a nice, seamless background, much like a mini studio photo! There are more advanced ways to set up a lightbox for images like this, but this is the fast and easy, super budget-friendly method.

The Five-Minute Photo Fix. Turn your food photo from "are you sure that's edible?" to "holy cow, get in my belly now!" in less than five minutes.  Really, the most difficult thing about this tutorial is not eating the cookies while shooting!

See the above photo? The colors are off, the shadows are harsh, the background is dark. All-in-all, not a great photo. Do you know why? It was taken with the curtains drawn and flash on. The iPhone’s flash is not your friend in most situations. Turn it off! Always! Okay, almost always. There’s a time and place for everything, but when natural light is available, there’s no need for it.

You can easily toggle your iPhone camera’s flash: When your camera app is open, in the top right corner is a little lighting bolt. Tap it and three options appear: Auto, On and Off. Tap off and you’re good to go.

The Five-Minute Photo Fix. Turn your food photo from "are you sure that's edible?" to "holy cow, get in my belly now!" in less than five minutes.  Really, the most difficult thing about this tutorial is not eating the cookies while shooting!

Here’s the finished product with natural light. Open up that curtain, let the light in. Jump down to eye level and once your camera app is open, tap your subject on the screen to get that beautiful focus. With my final photo, I popped it into one of my favorite mobile apps, VSCO, brightened it up, sharpened just a bit and lightened the shadows. Easy as pie, right? Er, cookies.

Post in the comments your before and after photos using the 5-minute photo fix or tag me on Instagram @brendagdalton. I’d love to see how you use this quick method to improve your photos.

How To: Font Pairing for Beginners

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How to pair fonts in graphic design like a professional - Design tips for bloggers and online businesses by 835 Creative

What makes or breaks a design? Is it the size of the graphic? No. How about the colors? Eh, sometimes. But what happens if you have 8 different fonts in different sizes and you have no idea where to look or what some of the things say and now you’re totally overwhelmed and you’re thinking in run-on sentences because that’s what bad font choices can do sometimes? Bingo.

The fonts you use on your graphics for your website, social media and print materials can make or break or small business or organization. It can either make you look 100% professional, you have your stuff together and can provide awesome services or products… Or look like you’re running an operation out of the trunk of your car part-time. Choose your fonts wisely!

First, let’s break down some of the font terms:

TYPEFACE

Another word for font! You may hear your designer use typeface and font interchangeably. Don’t panic: it’s totally normal. Now you are prepared and can join the ranks of pro designers who dare never use the word “font.” Kidding, we all swap the two terms.

SERIF

A serif font or typeface that has lines attached to the endpoints or stroke of each letter. What does that mean? It means you’ll see little feet, known as a serif, on the bottom of most letters like the H, i, I, m, s, r and f in the graphic below. A terminal appears as a rounded end on some sans-serif characters, like a and f in the graphic below.

Examples of san-serif fonts are Times New Roman (below), Garamond, Bodoni.

Fun fact: Serif fonts have been proven to be more readable when used at smaller font sizes, such as large blocks of text since the serifs on each letter lead into the next letter more easily.

SANS-SERIF

Once you get the hang of serif, sans-serif is pretty self-explanatory. Sans = without. A sans-serif is a font without serifs, or lines attached to the endpoints. Examples: Arial, Helvetica (below), Museo Sans.

Fun fact: The font, Helvetica, has its very own documentary by Gary Hustwit. It’s not on Netflix Instant, but with a quick online search, you can easily find it online to stream or purchase.


While fonts can easily be broken down into even more categories under serif and san-serif, fonts are typically broken up into three categories: Serif, san-serif and script.

Here are some quick tips on pairing fonts for documents, whether you’re designing a logo, social media graphic, e-book, course or the hundreds of types of collateral for businesses.

USE NO MORE THAN THREE FONTS

This is a golden rule of graphic design, especially for smaller designs. It’s usually broken up into three categories: Header, sub-header and body text. Keep in mind that using the bold and italics on the same font does not mean you’re adding an extra font! Same font, different weight.

For social media graphics, I recommend only using two fonts. One can be your heading or a large, decorative text, and the other the body text (small-ish type that is often seen in paragraphs). Check out how I design my Instagram graphics:

You see two fonts in this graphic: The header and the body text. I repeat the header text at the bottom, in a different, complementary color for my brand to attribute the quote..
You see two fonts in this graphic: The header and the body text. I repeat the header text at the bottom, in a different, complementary color for my brand to attribute the quote..

On larger design documents like annual reports, media packets, brand style guides, etc. it’s common to see more than three fonts, especially to represent different sections. And of course, this rule can be broken ALL OF THE TIME… as long as you’re doing it right. Just starting out? Stick with this rule until you’re ready to branch out and can find fonts that complement one another.

PAIR TWO TYPES OF FONTS

Just because you want consistency in your brand identity, it doesn’t mean all of your fonts have to look alike! Pair a serif with a sans-serif, or a handwritten with a book font. Find a fun, script font and give it a modern, thin and sleek font to give it pizzazz. It’s like yin and yang.

Mrs. Glows  &  Museo Sans
Mrs. Glows & Museo Sans
Frontage  &  Futura
Frontage & Futura
Lovepen  &  Bodoni Smallcaps
Lovepen & Bodoni Smallcaps
Didot  &  Youngblood
Didot & Youngblood

NEVER USE SCRIPT OR NOVELTY FONTS IN LARGE BODIES OF TEXT

A good rule of thumb is if it is more than 5-8 words, it shouldn’t be a script font. It’s not about being a party-pooper, it’s about readability. You want your audience to know what important words you’re telling them, quickly and easily. The longer someone has to spend deciphering words, the less likely they’ll comprehend it and the less likely they’re going to keep reading.

Script fonts are perfect for big, bold headlines and logos. Anything else, you might consider swapping it for another font. Try to think about someone who may have never seen that font before, rather than the fact you can read it.


My favorite spots for fonts: Google FontsCreative Market and Font Bundles, all of which offer free, discounted and paid fonts.

Adobe Typekit is a great resource for free fonts, some of which linked above, if you are an Adobe Creative Cloud member. If not, click here to get any (or all!) Adobe Creative Cloud programs starting at less than $10 a month.

If you’re a current student, you can receive 60% off Creative Cloud, too.