So Good In Every Way: Travel Photo Challenge

Gloucester Mass Nico Nico CLothing Hippie in Disguise

Travel Photography! Let’s go!

This week I’m guest judging a photo challenge put on by my friend Ali of Incredibusy blog. The photo challenge is for her So Good In Every Way project, also known as #SGIEW. The photo challenge theme is : Travel. So, if you’d like to join in and run a chance at winning a prize, then please add the hashtag #sgiew_travel to your Instagram photos. Check out the amazing entries so far: #sgiew_travel on Instagram.

The prize for the winning photo is a **THREE MONTH SUBSCRIPTION TO THE GLOBAL GUARDIAN PROJECT MULTI-MEDIA CAPSULES** worth $45 USD.

You can read more about the Global Guardian Project here (on my blog) and here (on their website) – – essentially it is an education and activism project that produces monthly digital multimedia magazine (including podcasts and videos, art project downloads, interviews, country and animal profiles, maps and educational curriculum for children aged 4-13) with the goal of teaching tomorrow’s generation to be positive changemakers and support sustainable living.

To complete your entry add the hashtag #sgiew and #sgiew_travel to at least one of your photos on Instagram and kindly follow the photo challenge hosts:

Your photos should feature ‘travel’ in some way, whether a local or international trip on a train. However, I know we can’t all afford to travel, nor is everyone physically able to do so, so please consider travel in the broadest sense of the term. I am a big fan of creative interpretation!

To complete the entry make sure to visit the Global Guardian Project website and add your name to their email list (in the pop up window on their homepage).

Global Guardian Project will send you a free copy of their India Capsule as a thank you — that’s a $17 USD value, so basically everyone gets a prize.

If you don’t win the subscription but would love to subscribe anyway, use the code: INCREDIBUSY at checkout and get 10% off!

Contest closes Monday, March 20, 2017. Nine images will be selected for a feature on the So Good In Every Way Instagram account and one winner will get the prize!

Good luck everyone!

***

Let’s be friends! Please come find me in other places:

Slow LIving Project nature collection vanillalemoncake

Slow Living Project: Explore Photo Winners (and some news)

Luv Mother and Mabo Clothier by Hippie in Disguise Cape Cod Beach

It’s been just over a year since Melanie and I launched the Slow Living Project. Initially the project sought to inspire others to share their slow living moments through photography. As the months went by the number of contributors grew and we explored different facets of slow living through a variety of themes, the project became more than simply a celebration of photography, it became a community and a pool of inspiration around the notion of slow, mindful living.

Participants began talking more about slow living in their captions, testing the idea, pushing it, contemplating, and always inspiring thought. As the months passed, I found myself evolving and changing. I was so inspired and guided by the photos and captions that my way of life changed. I joke that slow living made me lose all sense of deadlines, which is a little bit true, but I also found myself changing in other ways. Slow was really sinking in. Slow was no longer something I did on my days off of work. Slow was infiltrating my very state of mind. By the way, slow doesn’t mean (for me) that I do things at a slower pace necessarily, sometimes it does, but what it means is that I approach my day, my task, my interactions in a mindful way — meaning very connected with the present, connected and in touch as much as possible, in a singular way, with what I am doing in the present.

From my own evolution it became clear that the Slow Living Project would need to evolve too. But I will get to the at the end of the post. First let’s celebrate the winners of the photo contest!

In July, Melanie and I announced we would host a photo contest to celebrate the first year of the Slow Living Project. In partnership with our awesome sponsor  – Magic Organic Apothecary – we awarding 6 prizes this month for our favourite contributions to the #slowliving_explore hashtag on Instagram. As there were around 3,000 photos in that gallery this was no small feat (see the gallery here). But after many chats Melanie came up with 6 photos (down from about 60!) that we loved. (You don’t know how many times I wished for extra prizes!). What you’ll see below are excellent photos, no doubt, but technical ability is not what we are looking for. Really we are looking for a moment of slow living captured beautifully, poetically. As well, we tried to gather a collection that showed variety and would inspire in many ways. Slow living and exploration are personal, we all do it our own way, alone and with children, family, friends, indoor and outdoor, physically and mentally.

Without further ado…

VeronikaGphotography Slow Living Project

Photo by @veronikagphotography

Magdalenadom Slow Living Project Fog

Photo by @magdalenadom

Slow Living Project siblings on hay stack

Photo by @_jessarose_

Slow LIving Project nature collection vanillalemoncake

Photo by @vanillalemoncake

Slow LIving Project

Photo by @tania_mcmahon

Slow Living Project beach silhouette

Photo by @treeoftash

Winners can email Melanie at geoffreyandgrace@gmail.com to claim their prizes. As well, check out Melanie’s post about the winners here.

A massive thank you and heartfelt hug to everyone who contributed this month to the hashtag and to the project over the past year. You have changed my life for the better! Melanie and I (and countless others no doubt) have been inspired by the moments you shared. We’ve been inspired so much, that Melanie and I knew we had to make a few changes to the Slow Living Project.

Going forward we will no longer have monthly themes, instead we would like to introduce the hashtag #slowlivingforlife. This reflects Melanie and my understanding that compartmentalizing slow living doesn’t feel right to us anymore. It is a way of life, it is a perspective. We also, in embracing slow living, have had to be reasonable with the amount of work we put on ourselves, so we will now post to our blogs every so often, when the inspiration strikes. Please continue to tag your photos on Instagram with the slow living hashtags, as we hear all the time from people writing us that the slow living galleries on Instagram have been hugely inspiring. Won’t you please inspire someone today?

As a little memory jog, our year in themes and hashtags was:

You can also see a collection of our favourites from the past year on our Pinterest board, click here.

Thank you once again for contributing to the project. There will be lots more writing on slow living coming up in this space so please check back or subscribe by email or bloglovin.

Wishing you a beautiful, slow day. xo, Danielle

Let’s be friends! Please come find me in other places:

Slow Living Project: Reflect Photo Selections

About this time last year, Melanie and I were ironing out the final details of our Slow Living Project / Collaboration, and discussing how we hoped to build a community of friends and photographers that were passionate about sharing the beauty, enjoyment and challenges of slow living. A community that would welcome new people each month who wanted to share their experiences and learn from others. We’ve been overwhelmed and delighted by the community that has blossomed. And now, with coming up to almost a year of nurturing slow living, we wanted to take some to reflect on our journey, and so we chose to focus June’s theme accordingly with word ‘Reflect’ — using the hashtag #slowliving_reflect.

Thank you for sharing your moments of reflection through words and images. We were quite inspired, and, as usual I had a very hard time choosing a selection to share with you, so please visit the hashtag to enjoy all that was contributed this month.

There are always many beautiful photos in the galleries, but I’m especially drawn to ones that have explored the theme creatively or in metaphorical ways. I’m also partial to captions that dig deeper into the theme. With this in mind here are some of my favourites.

Twins: teaching us about reflection and difference

Mama 2 the little ones Slow Living Project Reflect

Photo by @mama_2thelittleones

 

Reflecting nature’s beauty onto paper

Kunstkiekje Slow Living Project Reflect

Photo by @kunstkiekje

 

Reflecting on a year together

Photo by @blowyinthewind

Photo by @blowyinthewind

 

Reflecting on hard work and the ways of nature

Photo by @frakturfolk

Photo by @frakturfolk

 

Reflecting, infusing and preserving nature into cloth

Photo by @petalplum

Photo by @petalplum

 

Reflections on a shining soul

Photo by @rachelthomasjones

Photo by @rachelthomasjones

 

Reflecting light, colour and life

The Happily Ever After Slow Living Project Reflect

Photo by @thehappilyeverafter

 

Reflecting sky, sea and soul

Photo by @ourbeautiful_adventure

Photo by @ourbeautiful_adventure

 

Beautiful photos with inspired captions on reflection

Photo by @jenni_isdancingintherain

Photo by @jenni_isdancingintherain

Photo by @justordinaryfolk

Photo by @justordinaryfolk

Photo by @findingjoyforus

Photo by @findingjoyforus

Photo by @ksenijaisa

Photo by @ksenijaisa

 

Melanie’s selections can be found over on her blog www.geoffreyandgrace.com.

Congratulations to those who were selected for the blog, and thank you very much to everyone who added their special moments to the hashtag gallery. No matter how many entries we see in the gallery each month we are overwhelmed and inspired by how you explore the theme, both through photography and through words.

As with all our monthly themes there’s no reason to stop using the hashtag on your images, you never know who or what it might inspire in someone else. I noticed last month that #slowliving_create is over 4000 photos under the hashtag. And that our generic hashtag #slowliving_ is growing steadily too. Let’s keep the slow living momentum going! Slow and steady, though.

Special Announcement: 

To close out the year, we decided to return to our first theme ‘Explore’ using the hashtag #slowliving_explore. Add the hashtag to your Instagram photos that fit the theme to be part of the gallery and inspire others on their slow living journey. We would love to see how you explore the world and slow living.

This month will be a little different from the usual. Melanie and I will curate a collection of our favourites to share in August on Instagram, our blogs, and on our Pinterest board ‘Slow Living Moments’. But to celebrate our year and to thank everyone for building this beautiful community we will be offering prizes to a few folks who have contributed outstanding photos to the #slowliving_explore collection this month. We have partnered with Magic Organic Apothecary to offer 6 prizes. Each winner will receive a gift box containing their Daily Cleaning Ritual and Aphrodite Facial Oil. MOA makes the most delightful and consciously made organic herbal facial care products. You can read all about them here.

To enter for a chance to win a prize:

  • Add the hashtag #slowliving_explore to your photos (as many photos as you wish)
  • Follow @MagicOrganicApothecary + @geoffreyandgrace + @hippieindisguise on Instagram
  • Competition closes August 19th, so photos submitted after this date will not be considered for prizes
  • Good luck and enjoy! We can’t wait to see what you share.

As a reminder our Pinterest board is a great place to get a quick glance at all the selections we’ve shared so far and to get a good dose of visual inspiration. You can check it out here.

You can find previous month’s selection by searching my blog: “explore” “nurture” “love” “renew” “raise” “bloom and harvest” “create” “gather

Thank you to everyone who shares photos and inspires us to live slowly, wholeheartedly, with gratitude. Best wishes for a beautiful and exploratory month! xo, Danielle

***

You might also like my post:

Born Wild: An Interview with Inspiring Mother Morgan Brechler

Dreaming with Little Creative Factory

Interview with a Minimalist: Celia (zero waste city dweller)

How to Make All Natural Temporary Tattoos from Dried Flowers

10 Ways to Live a Greener, More Sustainable Lifestyle

Let’s be friends! Please come find me in other places:

Slow Living Project: Nurture Photo Selections

Well, it’s officially a cliche here, but yes, another month of the Slow Living Project has gone by, and another set of inspiring images has been collected — this time under the theme ‘Nurture’ using the hashtag #slowliving_nurture.

This past month, Melanie and I wanted to focus our slow living on nurturing, whether it’s nurturing ourselves or others, or nurturing a love, passion or interest. We asked: How do you take time to slow down and nurture health, creativity, connection and all of life’s important things? Thank you for sharing your moments of beauty, nurturing, and connection. We were very inspired, and, as usual I had a very hard time choosing a small selection to share with you, so please visit the hashtag to enjoy all that was contributed this month.

There are always many beautiful photos in the galleries, but I’m always particularly drawn to ones that have really explored the theme, and often this comes by way of the caption. Personally, I was inspired by those of you sharing images of nurturing children’s love for adventure, travel, exploration and nature, but nurtured in an open-ended way, nothing forced, nothing  rushed, allowing children to guide themselves. I also loved, and have a fondness for, nurturing family and sibling bonds. And, of course, there’s the very basic nurturing of life, that we don’t always pay enough attention to. With these thoughts in mind here are some of my favourites.

Nurturing a love for nature and adventure, collecting memories, treasures and wishes

img_2720

Photo by @slooower

img_2717-1

Photo by @mytinytribe

Nurturing life

img_2731

Photo by @ambertia

Nurturing souls, bonds and creativity

img_2723

Photo by @lilimuguette

img_2704

Photo by @keishua_

img_2689

Photo by @lightlovers

img_2722

Photo by @devine_tribe

img_2729

Photo by @celinabailey

Melanie’s selections can be found over on her blog www.geoffreyandgrace.com.

Congratulations to those who were selected for the blog, and thank you very much to everyone who added their special moments to the hashtag gallery. No matter how many entries we see in the gallery each month we are overwhelmed and inspired by how you explore the theme, both through photography and your words.

As with all our monthly themes —#slowliving_explore, #slowliving_create, #slowliving_raise, #slowliving_gather,#slowliving_renew, #slowliving_love and so on — there’s no reason to stop using the hashtag on your images, you never know who or what it might inspire in someone else. I noticed the other day that #slowliving_create is close to 4000 photos under the hashtag. Let’s keep the slow living momentum going! Slowly, though 😉

As a reminder, in December we started using the hashtag #slowliving_ for all our images in the project. Feel free to use it yourself, especially for any photos you love but don’t feel quite fit the theme of the month.

The theme for June is ‘reflect’ using the hashtag #slowliving_reflect. Building on our month focused on nurturing, and moreover our many months of focusing on slow living, we wanted to take some time to reflect on our journeys. We would love to learn from your reflections on slow living and how you take time to reflect on life. All reflections big and small are welcome. Use the hashtag #slowliving_reflect on your Instagram photos to be part of the gallery.

And…please feel free to join in even if you have never participated before.

As usual, Melanie and I will curate a collection of our favourites at the end of the month to share on Instagram, our blogs, and on our Pinterest board ‘Slow Living Moments’. And by the way, our Pinterest board is a great place to get a quick glance at all the selections to date and to get a good dose of visual inspiration.

You can see previous month’s themes and selections on my blog for: ‘explore’ here,‘create’ here and here, ‘bloom and harvest’ here and here, ‘raise’ here, ‘gather’ here, ‘renew’ here, ‘love’ here

Thank you to everyone who shares photos and inspires us to live slowly, wholeheartedly, with gratitude. Best wishes for a beautiful and reflective month! xo, Danielle

***

You might also like my post:

Dreaming with Little Creative Factory

Interview with a Minimalist: Celia (zero waste city dweller)

The Stop and Start of Minimalism

Born Wild: An Interview with Inspiring Mother Morgan Brechler

How to Make All Natural Temporary Tattoos from Dried Flowers

1o Ways to Live a Greener, More Sustainable Lifestyle

Want to find me in other places?

The Sparrow Collective Guest Post: My Simple and Effective Tips for Taking Better Photos


In the news! I guest posted over on The Sparrow Collective sharing my very simple and effective tips for taking better photos of children and photos in general. Find the post here.

So, please visit the site and have a read, you’ll learn simple photography tips that anyone can apply. There is no need for a fancy camera (it’s all mobile phone based), fancy computer or software (it’s all mobile phone app-based editing). The tips are especially helpful for taking photos of wiggly children, but also can be applied to photographing anything.

Thank you very much to Shadae, the woman behind The Sparrow Collective, for the opportunity to share on your site. The Sparrow Collective is a lovely handmade children’s clothing and teepee line with a blog about crafty, creative and business stuff.

xo, Danielle

[ Sen’s adorable overall shorts are designed and hand sewn by Shadae, his tank top is from Goat Milk NYC ]

You might also like my post:

Interview with Creative Mother: Fleur Lyon

  • Find all my Creative Mother Interviews here

Tutorial: How to Make Temporary Tattoos from Real Flowers

How to Do Minimalism with Children

Let’s be friends! Please come find me in other places…

Slow Living Photo Selections: Bloom and Harvest, Take 2

Another month of the Slow Living Project, and another set of inspiring images has been collected — this time under the hashtag #slowliving_bloomandharvest. This past month, Melanie and I wanted to focus our slow living on the season’s changes: the harvest in the northern hemisphere and the blooms of spring in the southern hemisphere. Thank you for sharing your moments of beauty, contemplation, stillness, and connection. We were very inspired, and had a hard time choosing a small selection to share with you, so please visit the hashtag to enjoy all that was offered this month.

In April we revisited a favourite theme ‘Bloom and Harvest’. This time around the seasons have switched, with it being spring in northern hemisphere and fall in the southern hemisphere. Like the first time around, we loved how you captured the colour and beauty of these seasons. Personally, I was quite inspired by the images that cleverly combined blooms and harvest: reflecting on the dying bloom, harvesting flowers to create blooms in a new context, capturing the bloom of the harvest, and thinking about bloom in a broader sense: the blooming child and the blooming mind. I always have a special fondness for images that include children, that is, I am inspired, comforted and given hope to see children raised from a slow approach and children learning about the wild natural world. With this in mind here are some of my favourites.

Beautiful blooms

Blooming bellies, babies, families and minds

Blooms harvested

Cultivating children’s creative, helping hands

Melanie’s selections can be found over on her blog www.geoffreyandgrace.com.

Congratulations to those who were selected for the blog, and thank you very much to everyone who has added their special moments to the hashtag gallery. With over 1600 entries to the gallery we were overwhelmed by the participation this month. As with all our monthly themes — #slowliving_explore, #slowliving_create, #slowliving_raise, #slowliving_gather, #slowliving_renew, #slowliving_love and so on — there’s no reason to stop using the hashtag on your images, you never know who or what it might inspire in someone else. Let’s keep the slow living momentum going! In December we started using the hashtag #slowliving_ for all our images in the project. Feel free to use it yourself, especially for any photos you love but don’t feel quite fit the theme of the month.

As mentioned on my Instagram account earlier this month, the theme for May is ‘nurture’ using the hashtag #slowliving_nurture. Melanie and I want to see and be inspired by how you nurture yourselves and others, how you take time to slow down and nurture health, creativity, connection and all the important things in life. Use the hashtag #slowliving_nurture on your Instagram photos to be part of the gallery. Please feel free to join in even if you have never participated before. As usual, Melanie and I will curate a collection of our favourites at the end of the month to share on Instagram, our blogs, and on our Pinterest board ‘Slow Living Moments’. And by the way, our Pinterest board is a great place to get a quick glance at all the selections to date and to get a good dose of visual inspiration.

You can see previous month’s themes and selections ‘explore’ here,‘create’ here and here, ‘bloom and harvest’ here, ‘raise’ here, ‘gather’ here, ‘renew’ here, ‘love’ here.

Thank you to everyone who shares photos and inspires us to live slowly, wholeheartedly, with gratitude. Best wishes for a beautiful and nurturing month! xo, Danielle

***

You might also like my post:

Top Post: Interview with a Minimalist: Claudia

Born Wild: An Interview with Inspiring Mother Morgan Brechler

How to Make All Natural Temporary Tattoos from Dried Flowers

Interview with Creative Mother: Kate from A Playful Day

1o Ways to Live a Greener, More Sustainable Lifestyle

Want to find me in other places?

Photo by @lillalinaea

Slow Living Project: Create, take 2

What a beautiful month it was for the Slow Living Project, with our focus word ‘create’ there were so many inspired moments shared through the #slowliving_create hashtag — over 3200 in fact! The images were not only beautiful, but more importantly captured the spirit of creativity and creation in a slow and intentional way : slowly working away at a creative project over days and weeks, bringing slow intentional creativity to our time with our children, bringing our creative spirit outdoors, gathering, building, decorating, creating family traditions and even creating life (both plant and animal).

You can view all the contributions to the gallery here. Thank you to everyone for sharing and inspiring others.

Photo by @lillalinaea

Photo by @lillalinaea

Photo by @fareisle

Photo by @fareisle

Photo by @veronikagphotography

Photo by @veronikagphotography

Photo by @onbeing_kristy / @onbeing_mom

Photo by @onbeing_kristy / @onbeing_mom

Photo by @lightlovers

Photo by @lightlovers

Photo by @devine_tribe

Photo by @devine_tribe

Photo by @aplayfulday

Photo by @aplayfulday

Photo by @aspetalsfall

Photo by @aspetalsfall

Photo by @vanillalemoncake

Photo by @vanillalemoncake

Photo by @sapphireandlars

Photo by @sapphireandlars

Photo by @travel.little.one

Photo by @travel.little.one

Photo by @heartenohana

Photo by @heartenohana

Photo by @growingwildthings

Photo by @growingwildthings

Photo by @joyfulnoisephoto

Photo by @joyfulnoisephoto

Photo by @earth_mamma

Photo by @earth_mamma

Photo by @lessmeansmoreproject

Photo by @lessmeansmoreproject

Photo by @mommetry

Photo by @mommetry

Photo by @findingjoyforus

Photo by @findingjoyforus

Photo by @mama_2thelittleones

Photo by @mama_2thelittleones

Photo by @littlekinjournal

Photo by @littlekinjournal

Photo by @ambertia

Photo by @ambertia

Melanie’s selections can be found over on her blog www.geoffreyandgrace.com.

Congratulations to those who were selected for the blog, and thank you very much to everyone who has added their special moments to the hashtag gallery. With over 3200 entries to the gallery we were overwhelmed by the participation this month. Each image left us with something some sort of inspiration. As with last month’s theme ‘love’, there’s no reason to stop using the hashtag on your images, you never know who or what it might inspire in someone else.

As mentioned on my Instagram account earlier this month, April will bring back another favourite theme ‘Bloom and Harvest’. This time around the seasons have switched, with it being spring in northern hemisphere and fall in the southern hemisphere. Like the first time, we would love to see how you capture the colour and beauty of these seasons. Use the hashtag #slowliving_bloomandharvest to include your photos in the gallery. Please feel free to join in even if you have never participated before. As usual, Melanie and I will curate a collection of our favourites at the end of the month to share on Instagram, our blogs, and on our Pinterest board ‘Slow Living Moments’.

In December we started using the hashtag #slowliving_ for all our images in the project. Feel free to use it yourself, especially for any photos you love but don’t feel quite fit the theme of the month.

You can find selections from other themes here: “explore” “nurture” “love” “renew” “raise” “bloom and harvest” “create” “gather

Thank you to everyone who shares photos and inspires us to live slowly, wholeheartedly, with gratitude. Best wishes for a beautiful and colourful month! xo, Danielle

***

You might also like my post:

Ecominimalism: Minimalism & Sustainability, an Interview with @twentyventi

How to Get Started with Minimalism

How to Make All Natural Temporary Tattoos from Dried Flowers

Let’s be friends! Please come find me in other places:

Social Media Minimalism: How To Balance Instagram and Family Life

“Life is what happens while you are staring at your smartphone.” – anonymous

Nico Nico Clothing Hippie in disguise Ro and Sen

A few people have asked me variations on the same question. How do I live slowly when I clearly do so much? How do I stay connected with my children, family and friends, when I’m also very connected to social media, in particular Instagram? I can’t answer all at once, but I thought I would start by sharing how I use Instagram and remain connected and present for my family. I will explain below, but first…

Last night I arrived home a little early from work and from picking up the kids, so rather than jump straight into dinner preparations I sat on the couch to read for a few minutes. Sen was already on the floor building with his blocks and Ro was on the couch knitting. I pulled a magazine from the shelf and opened it to a random page. Leaving things to the universe, I like to think that the page I land on will have information or inspiration that I need in that moment. I landed on an article about Japanese Tea Ceremony relating it to the concepts of presence, mindfulness and ichi-go ichi-e. I usually have a strict policy of not putting forward my own understanding of another culture’s practices, of simplifying something very rich by laying it over my life. But I was struck in the moment that this concept applied so well to me and how it’s easy for me to prioritize my family and children over social media. According to the article, ichi-go ichi-e is a concept suggesting that each encounter is unique and will never be recreated. With this view we can bring greater presence, intention and gratitude to each encounter we have. Not having much of something is often an easy way to appreciate it. Not having much time with my children, I appreciate the time I have. Knowing that this moment with Sen quietly humming and building with blocks, Ro knitting and humming her own tune, me reading and Matt playing with a new musical instrument my sister gave us – this perfect moment will never happen again. I’m breathing it in, not breaking the hum by starting a conversation, and just appreciating these few minutes before dinner begins. This is life.

Before I tell you how I keep my social media use in check, a little more about me might help you understand…

My academic background is in the social history and art historical understanding of photography. In this sense I came to parenthood with a very keen and deep sense of the role of photography in history and in human self-development (sense of identity). Matt and I have always taken a cautious and reserved approach to documenting our lives and the children. We didn’t photograph many major events in our life because of this. Sometimes, admittedly, with regret.

As a parent I have been inspired and deeply influenced by the book Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. Among other things, Payne advocates limited exposure of children to media and screens. I took this approach to heart and have tried my best to maintain a home and dynamic with my children that minimizes time with screens. That being said, my children do watch shows on an iPad, they see me use my iPhone (which is my phone, camera and computer all in one), because screens are a reality of life, like the newspaper at the front door once was. I try my best to limit it, without at the same time raising my children in a bubble that will inevitably burst.

So…my use of Instagram and social media is heavily influence by my academic studies of photography and particularly its impact on human personality and development and by my alignment with simplicity parenting and the importance of minimizing screens and electronic media for children’s healthy development.

Preamble over –> on to Instagram now.

Instagram is the predominant social network in my life. I also have a Twitter account, which is almost exclusively auto-fed information from my Instagram account and my blog. I have yet to learn how to use Twitter effectively. Probably never will. Don’t really care to. I also have a Facebook account, which I’ve used more in the last year to connect with people I know in real life, since my Instagram account grew too large beyond my circle of friends and family to keep up with.

So, a few details about my life and my Instagram account are important to share and set the stage for how I use social media:

+ I work full time outside of the home

+ My Instagram following is too large to keep track of notifications and new content (a blessing in disguise)

What do these two things mean?

First, working full time outside of the home, a minimum of 40 hours a week, plus my commuting time (by bicycle) to get to and from work, means that I have a lot of time away from my children. My time with the children during the work week is very limited, about an hour in the morning, and about 2 hours at night, during which time I have to do all the parenting duties that come with having children, feed, clothe, bath, homework, which leaves usually about 15-20 minutes of unstructured free time. This means my time with them is precious and I have no interest in wasting it away on Instagram or other social media. But working outside the home means I have plenty of time during the work week on my break time to engage in social media.

Second, my Instagram account has grown to such a size that I cannot keep up with the notifications that come in. I could be slightly off on the exact number, but basically Instagram will only provide you with the last 100 notifications related to you (notifications are the likes and comments others have left on your photos or in response to comments you left on other photos). I used to be able to open Instagram once or twice a day and not miss any news in my notifications, I could easily see when someone replied to a comment I left them and then go back to continue the conversation. This was because when I signed in I would have 20-40 notifications. Now that my account is much larger I easily have 100 notifications every hour. If I’ve just posted something new I will have 100 notifications in 5 or 6 minutes. In order to stay on top of the notifications I would have to open Instagram many times an hour not to miss anything. (Perhaps there’s an app out there that tracks expired notifications but I haven’t bothered to look and wouldn’t want it anyway).

My Instagram account grew fairly steadily (except for the two times that Instagram added my name to the Suggested User List). I was able to manage the notifications at first; I would check in three times a day, then four times a day as my following size grew. But after a certain point it was impossible to keep on top of the notifications. For example, when I woke up in the morning there would always be 100 new notifications in my feed, which meant I necessarily missed some news. At first I was little stressed, thinking I could have missed an important message from a friend or that possibly I was rude for not answering someone. But when I stepped back for a moment, I realized there was no reasonable way to control any of this and that my real friends wouldn’t drop out of my life if I missed an Instagram comment. I certainly wasn’t about to wake up during the night to make sure I didn’t miss anything! So, I conceded that I couldn’t stay on top of the news. And then realized that this was actually a freedom.

Freedom.

Freedom to check in on Instagram only when I felt like it. Freedom from the tyranny of notifications (overstatement, I know) and from keeping up with all the new content.

Since this time, I’ve had a much less engaged relationship with Instagram. There are trade-offs for not being on Instagram and constantly liking and commenting on others photos, or replying to comments: I don’t get as many likes on my photos, I lose followers and I don’t get new ones as quickly. But this doesn’t bother me, because the gains are far greater: lack of stress related to keeping up and greater presence during family time. And, my enjoyment, experience, engagement and connection to the Instagram community has not been adversely affected.

So, here is how I use Instagram:

Because I work full time outside the home, I have many hours away from the children each day. I use my break times at work to post to Instagram, to check in on others accounts or to reply to questions. This way I’m not using Instagram when my children are around. When I’m with them I’m either doing parent and household tasks or playing with them. I save Instagramming for breaks at work. I post on the weekends when they are asleep or playing with friends. It’s that simple.

A few other things:

  1. I do not have the notifications turned on. Never have.
  2. I do not worry about missing a post from a friend.
  3. I do not worry about seeing, liking and commenting on all of my friends and others photos coming through my Instagram feed.
  4. I do not scroll through the Instagram feed each day, usually only once a week. Sometimes less often, really.
  5. When I sign into Instagram, I will choose a few friends or accounts to visit and I will catch up on their photos that way.
  6. I do not use my time to reply to and thank people for every comment made on my photos. I try my best to answer questions and particularly thoughtful comments, but I know that I definitely miss some. C’est la vie! That’s life!

Taking Photos.

Photography is a big part of Instagramming, so I thought I’d share how I incorporate photography into my children’s life. First, I use an iPhone for photography, which is great for it being small and much less conspicuous than a conventional DSLR camera – you can take photos in a way children often don’t take notice of.

Clearly, however, even with an iPhone camera, my children are aware of the device and its presence in their lives. I do not photograph my children as much as it may seem. In the late fall and winter I very rarely take photos. If I look at my camera roll now, until very recently I had only taken photos of them 3 times since December. I do a lot of recycling. I pull old photos that I never shared or repost favourites with new captions. During the more temperate seasons in late spring, summer, and early fall I do photograph the children more often, but only when they are unaware or okay with it. My style of photography and the photos I like are un-posed, organic and capture something authentic, in this sense my photography excels when the children aren’t aware that I’m taking pictures. I also make a clear decision not to photograph them every day or to capture all their moments in digital form. I can write more on this in a subsequent post if there is interest.

There you have it: a little social media minimalism for you. You really don’t need to be on social media all the time to stay connected and engaged in a community, you won’t lose real friends or real community. Maybe some fickle people will leave you behind. You don’t need them! As I have experienced, I can still find lots of inspiration by way of images, captions and conversation on Instagram without having to digest it all. I haven’t lost any real friends for it or my sense of being supported by a virtual tribe of like-minded people. You can design your relationship with social media to be what you need and what adds to your life, rather than letting it suck away the time in your life.

What can you do if you are a stay at home parent?

If you are a parent who is home with children many hours a day and would like to scale back the amount of time you spend on social media, try adapting my approach to your situation. Pretend you can only use Instagram during your break time (when the children nap?). Resist the urge to photograph every milestone and day of their life. Just be in the moment and use your grey matter to remember things. Old school style! Or, try to be okay with letting the memory fade. If I’m an example of sorts, you can definitely capture enough photos of your child’s life by taking photos once or twice a week (or less), you don’t need to take photos every single day just because you can.

On the topic of living slowly while also having a busy life, I talked about this in a guest post for Ruth & Ragnar. In the post I talk about slow living and how I incorporate a slow focus into my busy, hustled days, in particular where and when I choose to be busy or choose to be slow and present. Read it here.

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Want to find me in other places?

Slow Living Project: Love

Each month I contemplate (very slowly, very mindfully about) introducing the hashtag #slowliving_blogpost because, well, I’m a little slow to post. Something I’ve come to accept, and even appreciate, about living slowly is that you become the final judge of your pace, not others. At first, it’s hard to feel comfortable in it because others have their expectations, others are whizzing and whirling around you, but ultimately we know the rhythm that is best for us. A slower pace has many benefits, not the least of which is being more connected to the moment.

So, on to love, let’s connect with love. With February’s focus on ‘love’ another beautiful collection of photos has formed as part of the Slow Living Project (read this post if you want to hear about how the project began, how it works and how to join in). Melanie and I wanted to focus on the word ‘love’ and to see what you love and how you capture it. We were both deeply inspired by the beautiful images and the heartfelt words you shared.

The photos and moments that struck me the most are shared below. (For my selections under ‘Wise Words About Love’ I especially encourage you to visit these galleries and read the captions.) You can view all the contributions to the gallery here. As always, thank you to everyone for sharing and inspiring others.

Love: The Basics

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Photo by @mytinytribe

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Photo by @weevintage

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Photo by @ekwetzel

Love in an embrace, a glance, a hand

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Photo by @magdalenadom

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Photo by @ambertia

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Photo by @lulu_pine

Loving the simple things: music, friends, nature, others

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Photo by @chicangelic

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Photo by @jaibess

Handmade love

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Photo by @fareisle

Wise words about love

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Photo by @lillalinaea

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Photo by @hanbullivant

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Photo by @devine_tribe

Melanie’s selections can be found over on her blog www.geoffreyandgrace.com.

Thank you to everyone who participated this month and shared their slow living moments. Everyone, old and new, is welcome, so please join us in March as we explore the theme ‘create’ (for a second time!), using the same hashtag as before #slowliving_create. We hope you will find interesting ways to capture creativity and creation in the everyday. Slow down and notice those moments, create and share them. The last time we focused on ‘create’ the images were not only beautiful, but more importantly captured the spirit of creativity and creation in a slow and intentional way. We saw people bringing creativity to breakfast or a simple moment on the beach, slowly working at a creative project over days and weeks, and bringing slow intentional creativity to their time with children. See the selections post here for inspiration. At the end of the month, Melanie and I will select our favourites to share on Instagram and on our blogs. We can’t wait to see what you create! As always, please feel free to interpret this word broadly and in a way that resonates with you.

As a reminder, in December we started using the hashtag #slowliving_ for all our images in the project. Feel free to use it yourself, especially for any photos you love but don’t feel quite fit the theme of the month.

You can see previous month’s themes and selections ‘create’ here, ‘explore’ here, ‘bloom and harvest’ here, ‘raise’ here, ‘gather’ here, ‘renew’ here.

  • Our Pinterest board ‘Slow Living Moments’ includes all photo selections from the project, you can visit it here.

Thank you to everyone who shares photos and inspires us to live slowly, wholeheartedly, with gratitude. Best wishes for a beautiful and creative month! xo, Danielle

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You might also like my post:

Ecominimalism: Minimalism & Sustainability, an Interview with @twentyventi

Inhaling the Season, Inhaling the Moment: Cycling through a Snow Storm

The Mathematics of Love: Growing our Family

Want to find me in other places?

Slow Living Moments: Renew

A new year, a new month, and another beautiful collection of photos for the Slow Living Project (read this post if you are new to the project). With the new year upon us, Melanie and I wanted to focus on the word ‘renew’ — thinking about the ways we renew and restore ourselves, our family, our world. Asking how, with a slow, mindful, approach, do we make new once again.

This month I found myself particularly inspired by many of the captions that accompanied the beautiful images shared. But I also noticed just as many images that didn’t need a caption at all — it seemed obvious, intuitive, how the image conveyed renewal. When we slow down and listen we know what we need, we know how to renew, ourselves and our world. As always, thank you so much for sharing and inspiring!

The photos and moments that struck me the most are shared below. It is always so hard for me to narrow down the selections, so please visit the full gallery to see what others shared.

Renewal through creative rituals

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Photo by @mommetry

Renewed life

Renewed energy, strength, bonds

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Photo by @ambertia

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Photo by @ekwetzel

Renewed by the elements

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Photo by @lewesmap

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Photo by @c_theresia

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Photo by @devine_tribe

Death, rebirth, renewal

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Photo by @petalplum

Melanie’s selections can be found over on her blog www.geoffreyandgrace.com.

Thank you to everyone who participated this month and shared their slow living moments. Everyone is welcome, so please join us in February as we explore the theme ‘love’ in the context of slow living. In many places around the world February is a month focused on love, our love for our partners, our children, our family, our friends. As always, please feel free to interpret this word broadly and in a way that resonates with you. Please share your images with the hashtag #slowliving_love so others can be inspired. Last month we started using the hashtag #slowliving_ for all our images in the project, so that we have a hashtag that covers the whole year. Feel free to use it yourself.

You can see previous month’s themes and selections ‘create’ here, ‘explore’ here, ‘bloom and harvest’ here, ‘raise’ here, ‘gather’ here.

Our Pinterest board ‘Slow Living Moments’ includes all photo selections from the project visit it here.

Thank you to everyone who shares photos and inspires us to live slowly, wholeheartedly, with gratitude. Best wishes for a beautiful love-filled month! xo, Danielle

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You might also like my post:

Thoughtful Gifts for Children for Any Occasion

Inhaling the Season, Inhaling the Moment: Cycling through a Snow Storm

The Mathematics of Love: Growing our Family

Want to find me in other places?