Creative ways to capture your summer memories

I have loved photographs for as long as I can remember. I think what I love the most is that no matter how much the people in the photo have changed, the memory it holds never does. Today I’m sharing a couple of my favorite creative gadgets perfect for capturing your fun summer memories. We’ll chat about the FujiFilm Instax Mini Polaroid camera as well as the iPhone lens kit. Whenever I use these accessories in public I get tons of complements and questions, all the answers you can find here!

First, the FujiFilm Instax Mini 8 instant film camera.

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My parents always laugh when I use this camera, they say “it’s nothing new, polaroids are what everyone used when we were kids. We had it first!” (lol) this little FujiFilm camera has been around for a few years but is still just as popular as ever. It takes adorable mini instant polaroid photos that print on the spot. The mini film is sold in reloadable packs of 10 and are very simple to change in and out. The extra film can be bought in a number of locations such as Best Buy or even Walmart and come in classic white or fun colored patterns. The camera itself comes in a wide variety of colors as well (Raspberry, Grape, White, Pink, Blue, Yellow and Black) and can also be purchased in multiple locations (FujiFilm). The camera has a dial on the front part of the lens that allows you select the amount of light exposure needed for your indoor or outdoor setting. It takes great photos perfect for a little dorm room decor.

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Here are a few of the adorable photos the camera takes.

I found that I had a little trouble fitting the camera into my small sized purse to bring it with me places, so I was thrilled when I found the perfect solution: the Instax case. Not bulky and very convenient for traveling which also comes in various colors. The front opens up so you don’t even have to take the camera out of the case to take a photo. The case can be found at Best Buy.

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Next, the iPhone Lens Kit.

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Fisheye clip lens (smaller). Wide shot clip lens (larger).

These are fun accessories that can really help you step up your photo game and allow you capture moments in quite a unique way. Most kits come with three lenses, the Fisheye, the Wide Shot, and the Macro (not pictured above). They easily clip on to the phone; working best on the bare phone but are effective with a thin case on as well.

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Fisheye lens shown on the back camera.

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Fisheye lens shown from the side.

They look a little obnoxious when they’re clipped on but are easy to quickly attach and detach. I purchased my set of lenses on amazon.com for around $13, but I’m sure with a little searching you could find even cheaper ones as well. The pictures taken with the lenses are clear through both the front and back camera, pictures using each are below.

Fisheye Lens.

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Back camera. (Aerosmith concert)

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Front facing camera. (Florence + The Machine concert with Liv)

 

Wide Shot Lens.

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Back camera. (MSU vs. Oregon game)

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Front facing camera. (MSU vs. Oregon game with Hannah & Lysie)

 

Being able to “save” my milestones and memories with fun, creative tools like these have made me love photos even more. I hope your summer has already been fantastic and you’ve gained some new ideas on how to capture your next moments. Let me know if you have a favorite photography gadget you like to use, I’d love to hear about it!

Sincerely, Sienna

Finding your way as a college freshman

I just finished up my freshman year at Michigan State University and although the school year is over, I missed it so much already I had to come back; so ironically enough I write this post from East Lansing! I recently completed training to be a campus tour guide helping other students fall in love with their new home just as I did; something I love more than I even imagined I could. Quite the full circle year it seems and one I can honestly stamp as the best year of my life. I learned so much along the way, here are some of my experiences, things I wish I knew before I came to college, as well as advice as to how to make the most out of your freshman year!

It’s totally normal and completely okay to be anxious for this huge, new chapter of your life. I know all of the “what if’s” kept me awake at night, it can be scary to part with the life you’ve known for the past four years but every college freshman feels this way. I wish I wouldn’t have worried so much about silly things before I left; try to turn your nerves into excitement – you get a fresh start!

Saying “see you later” to my family was emotional, move-in day had been highly anticipated for so long so let your parents have their moment – remember it’s a big step for them too! Let your mom take pictures, hug your siblings and don’t be shocked if your dad even sheds a tear. Despite the emotions, I found being dropped off somewhere completely new to be surprisingly refreshing. You become the newest “you” that you have ever been up to that point. Every single face is unfamiliar, every place you go feels brand new. Take it all in and explore! Don’t miss out on a single thing. MSU had so many fun things to do during Welcome Week, it was the best time to meet new people! Don’t hide away in your room to be “too cool” to participate, grab your roommate and head out to the activities together!

Speaking of roommates, I was lucky enough to have a great experience using RoomSync. RoomSync is an online tool to help you find the best roommate for you and it’s super easy to use! You fill out a short survey about yourself in addition to writing a quick blurb about what you are seeking in a roommate. Many schools across the country offer this as an option and I would highly recommend checking it out. It was the same feeling as going in blind but gave me peace of mind in knowing I knew enough about the person I would be sharing my room with to be comfortable. My roommate and I got along great, we were respectful of each other’s space and belongings; I couldn’t have asked for a better situation for my first year. Living in such a small space with someone you’ve never met before really teaches you to have a high level of respect for others and how to handle conflict like an adult. I know friends of mine who weren’t as lucky with their roommates, if this were to be the case with you, try to talk out the issues with them and if that doesn’t work, your resident assistant (RA) would be a great resource to help you.

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My roommate Lysie and I on the first day of classes.

 

Before coming to college I was nervous that the level of academics as well as the work load would be a challenging jump compared to high school. I found that although the content was more challenging and the work load was heavier, I had much more time to focus on my school work. I was a very involved high school student with packed full days of school, multiple extracurriculars, club sporting events and work. In college it was a blank slate, I was able to experience my first few weeks of school work and then decide how many things on campus I could get involved with based on the time commitment I needed to set aside to succeed in my classes. School comes first, this is college, you pay for your classes and you are there to earn your degree, stay focused while enjoying yourself and use your resources. Go to class; really, you already paid for it! Do the extra credit opportunities that you are offered, they can really help your grade at the end of the semester. Most importantly, ask for help when you need it! Do not be embarrassed to ask for help, go to your professor’s open office hours or utilize your university’s tutor program. At MSU they have free tutoring which I definitely took advantage of. Math is my weakest subject and I am not at all ashamed to say I spent many hours at MSU’s Math Learning Center on campus. Taking time out of my week to do this and seek out the help I needed was crucial to my success.

Your college experience will truly be what you make it. You’re on your own, you have new freedom you’ve never felt before and it’s time for you to go after what you want without your parents doing it for you. Set goals for yourself, the opportunities are endless. Experience everything you can, use your new freedom to excel, trust your decisions and make the most of your time – this is home.

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GET INVOLVED; this is what truly made my first year unforgettable. There are organizations on campus for any and every interest you may have. Specifically, I jumped right in during the first month of the fall semester by seeking out an organization that I could continue to participate in acting. When I auditioned for Telecaster’s Sideshow I had no idea how much I would learn about working on screen as well as off screen and all of the experiences it would bring my way. It provided me with a family feeling, a group of people that shared similar interests, inspired me and one I knew I could trust.

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My Sideshow family.

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On set with Sideshow.

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Presenting at the Albie Awards.

But also step out of your comfort zone, this is where adventure begins! Have an open mind, you never know what you could stumble upon or the people that you could be lucky enough to meet. I most definitely think participating in some time of organization during your freshman year is such a positive and beneficial experience.

What getting involved has blessed me with most of all is incredible lifelong friendships. The friends I made within my first year made school feel like home, they became my family and the reason for fun filled weekends. The best advice I can give is to surround yourself with hardworking people who have aspirations and goals who are supportive of you and encourage you to be the best you can be. I am so proud to call these people my friends and am so thankful for the memories we’ve made together.

The days of my freshman year have been some of the happiest of my life so far and I could not have imagined experiencing a better beginning to my Spartan journey. Everyone’s college experience will be different, remember that it takes time to adjust! But even through the stress, never take a moment for granted, you are so blessed to be able to be receiving a college level education and you will not believe how quickly time will fly.

Thanks for reading!

Sincerely, Sienna

(follow my Instagram at siennamohl for more updates!)