Free iPhone Photography eBook

Learning to Master iPhone Photography - FREE eBook! Learn how to take better photos for your blog, business or personal life with this FREE iPhone Photography eBook | Thyme is Honey

I’m thrilled to offer literally everything I know about iPhone Photography in an easy-to-read eBook, now available for free download! I’ve been teaching this topic for nearly a year and I love helping people improve their photography. “Learning to Master iPhone Photography” will help you understand the basic function of your iPhone camera, and how to improve the quality and composition of your photos with just a few tricks!

Perhaps you’ve taken one of my Instagram Strategy classes at Revel or perhaps you are awaiting the release of my online class, Mastering Instagram, which launches in May at The Mint Academy. Either way — this book is a GREAT first step if you feel like your images could use an upgrade!

The book is 20 pages long and contains all my best tips for getting amazing photos for your business and life using only your iPhone! I explain all of the best features of the native camera app, but also share all of my favorite editing apps, equipment and props!

So, what’s the catch or what do I want from you? Nothing. I’m not even going to try to capture your email address in exchange for the book. I think that if you read through the book, improve your photos and then realize that you could be applying more strategy and intention to your posts —- then you should consider taking the next step, which is the online Mastering Instagram class. That course is $40 but will be one of the best investments you make in yourself or your business! Sign up for the newsletter to get first access when the course launches.

Instagram Audit

Instagram Audit Free Printable

I’ve worked as a social media strategist for the past 7 years, and there aren’t many things I love more than helping business owners understand, improve and master social media!

I’ve been teaching workshops for the past couple years, regularly for the past year at Revel Madison! Tonight will be my last regular class at Revel (we move to Minneapolis this weekend!), although I’ll be back in September to speak at a conference and hopefully teach a special topic class at Revel (keep tabs on their Events Page for more info).

I’m also launching an online course next month through The Mint Academy! Mastering Instagram will show you the strategy and programs I use to manage accounts for my clients and show you how to apply them to your small business to make your social media strategy more efficient and effective.

If taking my online class sounds interesting to you I hope you’ll keep tabs on The Mint Academy on Instagram for some free content and announcements about the course. It is only $40, but comes with great resources and weeks of support through their Study Hall and Honor Roll programs, which I’ll pop into for free videos and Q&A sessions with you!

Maybe you aren’t sure whether your Instagram account is flourishing or failing? That’s a common feeling for us as business owners—-we are always questioning how we’re doing and comparing it to everyone else. That’s where my Instagram Audit (pictured above) comes into play!

This 1-page printable is what I email to my new clients and ask them to fill out. Before our first phone consultation I also sit down, look over their account, and fill it out from my perspective (the perspective of your follower/customer/potential client). It helps ensure that our first interaction dives right into what they are doing right and what areas they could improve upon, either on their own or with my help).

I’d encourage you to grab this free printable, pull up your account, and fill it out! If you want some initial feedback, ask a friend or fellow business owner to also fill one out for you.

If you’d like to learn more about each section, learn how to use the Audit or get more information about how I apply some of this information to developing Instagram Strategies for my clients, I would encourage you to sign up for the Study Hall portion of my online class (sign up right here)! It’s free and is taking place the next few weeks before the course launches. It’s a great opportunity for you to test out the course and see if it might be a good fit for you and your business.


Things to do in Madison, Wisconsin

Things to do in Madison Wi - must-do local activities and our favorite road trips | Thyme is Honey

After we announced our move from Madison, Wisconsin to Minneapolis I’ve gotten a lot of “It’s so great you’re moving closer to home!”…which made me realize that a lot of people are confused about where Madison is. Our new home in Minneapolis will actually only be 10 miles closer to my hometown (147 miles versus 157), so indeed it is just *slightly* closer, but it will also come with fighting city traffic heading south out of the metro, where as we currently amble across the Wisconsin countryside and eastern Iowa.

Our move will, however, put us closer to a lot of our friends and our siblings (and closer to my husband’s parents), so it does feel like a homecoming of sorts, but it made me realize that Madison doesn’t pop into a lot of midwesterner’s minds when they are considering local vacation hot spots. I had never really visited Madison until we lived here, so I can’t blame them. Before we leave this beautiful city I wanted to share some of the things we love most about it, as well as some local road trips that quickly became some of our favorite getaways. If you live in or are planning to visit Madison, Wisconsin, here are my MUST DOs for you! Enjoy!

  1. Canoe + Camp on the Wisconsin River! This was by far our favorite activity while living in Madison, we did it dozens of times and we already have a date on the calendar to come back and do a trip this summer with friends. The Wisconsin River is all sand-bottomed from Sauk City all the way to the Iowa border. The entire thing is dotted with gorgeous beaches and sandbars. There’s no better way to spend a summer weekend in Wisconsin. Pack your tent, your cooler of beer and don’t forget your dog! You can arrange transportation and equipment rental through Wisconsin River Outings. We typically do their 5-6 hours trips, camping overnight in the middle, but last year we also did a 60 mile trip and loved it!
    Wisconsin River Canoe Camping
  2. Have a beer (and a shot) at the Missouri Tavern – This is a must-see if you love a good Wisconsin Dive Bar. This was the birthplace of Apple Pie shots. Other favorite Madison bars include Mickey’s Tavern and Mason Lounge.
  3. Attend the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning and don’t leave without spicy cheese bread. Madison is home to the largest producer-only farmer’s market in the US. If you plan to be here on a summer weekend you can’t miss the opportunity to check it out. It is conveniently arranged around the state capitol. Make sure you track down Stella’s Spicy Cheese bread and grab a loaf to enjoy while you browse the other booths.
  4. Visit the Memorial Union Terrace at the University of Wisconsin – I hesitate to call this a “cliche” Madison experience, although it can seem that way. I resisted embracing this tradition at first because it seemed like it would mostly be students and alumni (of which I was neither), but The Terrace is truly a community gathering place, open to all, and they host a lot of great events and concerts there throughout the summer. Sitting down with a pitcher of beer and a view of the sailboats is a great way to start a Saturday evening. (I once wrote a piece for Lakeshore Magazine highlighting a fun Saturday activity that takes you from Monona Terrace, through the Farmer’s Market, down state street and ends at Memorial Union Terrace, read it here)
  5. Hike to picnic point – This is another thing that we really procrastinated on. We didn’t go here until this year, and wished we’d gone sooner. It’s a great little hike right in the middle of the city, and the view at the end is definitely worth it. There are also several fire pits along the shoreline that you can rent to have a bonfire or cookout. Something we should have done!
  6. Road trip to Appleton, WI for Mile of Music – We love live music, so discovering the Mile of Music Fest in Appleton, Wisconsin, was like hitting the jackpot. For the first weekend of August the small town converts to the Nashville of Wisconsin (sort of) every venue, street corner, or vacant park in the city turns into a music venue. They host hundreds of artists for the weekend and the entire event is free. The festival is organized by musician Cory Chisel (we’re longtime fans, he was our very first concert together), who does a great job of finding up and coming talent as well as bringing in big names.
  7. Spend a summer weekend in Milwaukee and kayak through the city! Madison might be an underrated Midwestern city but I also think Milwaukee doesn’t get enough credit! It is absolutely one of my favorite cities in the country. Last summer we did an entire profile of traveling Milwaukee with your dog, during which we kayaked the city’s system of canals, visiting bars and breweries along the way, all with Walter in tow. We had a blast! Check out this post for a full itinerary and more details or visit Milwaukee Kayak Company for more information on kayaking!
  8. Visit Lion’s Den Gorge – This is a quick road trip from Madison, but is also great to tack onto any trip to or from Milwaukee, since it’s just a quick drive up the Lake Michigan shoreline. The park is full of hiking trails. The views from the high cliffs are amazing, but the beaches and turquoise water steal the show! We also wrote more about this in our post about Milwaukee.
  9. Hike (or rock climb) at Devil’s Lake and stop to peruse the beer list at The Barn. This was an annual Memorial Day tradition for us the entire time we lived in Madison. Each year we rock climbed with friends in Devils Lake State Park (some of the best rock climbing in the Midwest) and then would enjoy dinner and drinks at The Barn after a long day of hiking and climbing. Their beer list is literally a binder. Thank me later.
  10. Tour the Epic Campus in Verona, Wi. Oh, this one might sound lame, and trust me when I say that we’ve gotten raised eyebrows from more than one guest when we suggested spending a beautiful Saturday afternoon touring my husband’s work! But, we’ve never had anyone leave disappointed, in fact we’ve had guests who have claimed it was the best part of their trip (even some international guests who road tripped across the entire country later told us that visiting Epic was their trip highlight)! Epic is an electronic medical records company based out of Verona, Wisconsin (just a few mile south of Madison). The campus is around 800 acres and is filled with beautiful gardens and local artwork (so many beautiful installations outdoors). Each building has a special theme, some of my favorites include the Harry Potter building (called the Library), the Alice in Wonderland Building (called Alice), and the Lord of the Rings decor in Deep Space. If you can get hooked up with an employee (there’s over 10,000 of them) for a personal tour you can see inside and outside—otherwise it’s worth the quick drive just to visit the gardens and see the buildings from the outside. It will blow your mind and I feel very lucky that the campus was like our second home, where we enjoyed picnics and long walks with our dog for the past 5 years.

Farewell Madison

"Your idea of a perfect life might change. And that's okay." | Thyme is Honey

Is it possible to love a city and still want to leave? Is it possible that if you find a city that might be a perfect fit forever that maybe, just maybe…it makes sense to go try something new?

That’s kind of the conundrum we found ourselves in recently. We’ve lived in Madison, Wisconsin, for the past 5.5 years, and we’ve absolutely loved it. We’ve loved the city, the house we lived it, the people. My husband loved the company he was working for, I loved the supportive freelance community I had discovered. So why in the world would we choose to leave? Well, the decision wasn’t easy, but I hope that if you’re curious about our upcoming move that this post helps explain a little bit about where we are coming from.

When we purchased our home a little over 4 years ago, it was the house that we saw ourselves growing into, eventually filling the extra bedrooms with a kid or two. After our trips to Japan, Thailand, Germany and Austria last fall  and winter we started rethinking our plans for a family. We realized that our 5 year plan might be more of a 10 year plan, and that we weren’t really ready for all that parenthood entailed (read more about that in this post). So we returned home and started thinking about putting our house on the market. We knew if we were 2 or 5 or 7 years away from wanting a family, that we’d enjoy moving into a home that was smaller and better suited to us and our lifestyle. Something with less responsibility so that we wouldn’t feel bad about being gone every weekend or not investing time in home or yard projects (over the past 4 years we’ve realized that this is totally not our scene).


Cherry French 75 Recipe

Cherry French 75 - an untraditional twist on this classic cocktail | Thyme is Honey

Whenever my mom comes to visit it seems like I end up with a partial bottle of moscoto in the fridge. Don’t worry, we aren’t that weak. It’s usually one of those gigantic bottles of moscato.

I was looking for a way to use it before it went flat and decided on whipping up an untraditional French 75 by experimenting with new flavors. Adding cherry to a traditional French 75 base is a nice touch that adds just a splash of summer flavor to get us through these last few weeks until warm weather truly arrives.

Cherry French 75 - an untraditional twist on this classic cocktail | Thyme is Honey

A French 75 is traditionally made with dry sparkling wine, but moscato sweetens it up and is a nice compliment to the cherry. I thought it was great shaken on ice and served up straight, but it would also be great served on the rocks for a summertime refreshment. Enjoy!

Cherry French 75

3-4 drops cherry bitters (you can get my favorite ones on Amazon)
1 1/2 oz gin
1 oz homemade simple syrup
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
2 oz moscato or other sparkling wine
2 maraschino cherries

Add bitters into the bottom of a cocktail shaker and top with gin, simple syrup and lemon juice. Add ice cubes and shake. Strain into a small glass and top with moscato or sparkling wine. Garnish with cherries on bamboo skewers.