favourite productivity apps

{favorite productivity apps} via chevrons & éclairs

a bit of a disclaimer

As many of you know already from reading about my morning routine that I am most definitely a morning person. The actual business hours are much too cluttered and the work can be a bit overwhelming so these apps unfortunately don’t get used as much during working hours. My mornings (and sometimes evenings), however, are extremely productive and usually get me sorted for the busy day ahead. These apps make planning and pre-planning for the day that much easier. (My convoluted way of telling you why I’m in pajamas in these photos)

I teamed up with CaseApp.com to share this as they made working early mornings (and usually late, late nights) that much easier as they adorned my tech gear in a custom iPhone case and custom laptop skin. The marble detail is a nice clean way to enjoy the morning white light and it’s definitely on brand… There’s a discount code below, so you can design your own too!
 

{favorite productivity apps} via chevrons & éclairs

iCal

download app here
It was when I was stopped at Heathrow on my way back to London, stopped and harassed that I decided to make the move from a physical agenda to a digital calendar. Border control decided to pick apart my entire life and it was the end of that. I understand crossing vague and questionable borders shouldn’t be a casual hobby of someone’s, but asking about the importance of “period” dates isn’t either. iCal sorts out my editorial calendar, consult meetings, blog events and personal dates too. It’s all color coordinated and syncs with my phone and every other application easily.

Evernote

download app here
Making lists should be an olympic sport and I would be there (representing the US, UK or India?) taking home the gold. It’s the perfect way to organize thoughts, ideas and put together lists to share with the team. We have a workflow for the consultancy, but I use Evernote for the blog side to coordinate trips and collaborations. You can share them easily via email and send out links if need be.
 

{favorite productivity apps} via chevrons & éclairs

todoist

download app here
I’m a recent fan of todoist and if you follow me on Twitter you will often find me singing praise to the app. It’s a proper list-making app for each day and the week ahead. You can organize things by projects (ie. blog, consult, personal) and it gives you the ability to see everything you need to do in one go rather than juggling multiple lists. Again color coordinated, do you see a theme here?

coffitivity

download app here
A bit different from the other apps to be honest. Coffitivity was introduced to me back when I was in graduate school and it’s the first thing I turn to when I sit at my desk first thing in the morning. It’s an app that gives you white noise of a cafe, parisian bistro, a mess hall, the beaches of brazil, you name it. The white noise supposedly helps your productivity and the app basically wrote my MA dissertation for me. You can control the volume and include music with an added layer if you’d like. They also have a desktop feature that works equally well!
 

{favorite productivity apps} via chevrons & éclairs

Genius Scan

download app here
The unfortunate side of running your own business is when you have to do accounts. As you can imagine, running a blog + consultancy means I have to be extra careful. Instead of storing all the receipts in my cubicle of a bedroom or office, I can jut scan them with my phone and send them off either via email (or in my case store them on Dropbox). Makes life super easy because I can just upload receipts on the go and not worry about it all come tax season.

Special thanks to CaseApp.com for supporting this post, all views are always my own. Also, you can get your own custom iPhone case or laptop skin with the 20% discount code CHEVRONS20. The offer expires 5 August 2016!

countryside romance

{countryside romance} via chevrons & éclairs

compared to the last time…

styling SUPAL DESAI photo & video CHEVRONS & ÉCLAIRS
in collaboration with J.LAUREN location RUSHTON HALL HOTEL

I escaped to the English countryside once before. It was in March to Bath and I was hoping for a quality city break. Unfortunately, from what I see in the magazines and editorials of sun-drenched landscapes was not so true. We ended up not being able to sleep because of equal parts rain, hail and wind. Though the grounds and service of our little retreat were perfect, the weather did put a damper on things.

As things get a bit intense in the city here in London, I decided to give the countryside another try. My weeks always seem too long for me to enjoy, and so a very short escape was necessary for me to revive and continue with daily tasks of a business owner. This time I decided on looking up luxury hotels in Kettering, just an hour away from London. The train ride was short yet beautiful and the company was equally wonderful.

The afternoon was remarkable and not a single cloud in the sky, but the real treat was when the evening sun made its appearance. Everything was just like the fashion editorials captured for Ralph Lauren-exactly what I envisioned the countryside to be. The perfect backdrop. I decided to dress up for dinner and take in the sunset before our reservation, champagne in hand and with warm company…
 

{countryside romance} via chevrons & éclairs

what I wore

dress & OTHER STORIES heels c/o WALLIS necklace c/o J.LAUREN purse SAINT LAURENT
nails HANNAH c/o ZOYA NAIL POLISH lips GEORGIA c/o ZOYA NAIL POLISH
 

{countryside romance} via chevrons & éclairs

mexican coffee smoothie

{mexican coffee smoothie} via chevrons & éclairs

inevitable all liquid diet

I’m one of those restless people that constantly needs to be doing something. Basically I love to pile on responsibilities and essentially complicate my life. This means my days are spent behind a desk trying to sort out all my tasks, make lists for my lists and organize my organization plans. Insert a self-portrait to define the acronym, OCD.

By the end of the day, I have finger cramps from typing too much and a fried brain to go along with it. Never taking the easier, simpler route here. And once I get up to turn on the lamp and then start my evening routine to prepare for my trip back home, I find my desk covered in all liquid holding essentials. From two types of glasses, a teacup and a mug, my water tumbler, and layers of glass ring stains on my glass top desk. And on my way home when I wonder why I’m slightly bursting… Well, it’s because I literally have glasses upon glasses of different types of liquids throughout the day. First, coffee then juice then smoothie then juice then tea then maybe leftover smoothie and of course a bunch of water in-between (and most likely a cheeky glass of wine). It’s a habit I’ve always had.

There is one thing and that is all my liquid are not all the bad for you. I tend to make my own smoothies and this was one I concocted and thought it was worth sharing…
{mexican coffee smoothie} via chevrons & éclairs
{mexican coffee smoothie} via chevrons & éclairs {mexican coffee smoothie} via chevrons & éclairs

Thank you VitaCoco UK for the supplies!

* * *

mexican coffee smoothieYou can right click on the recipe card to save directly to your computer.
Print on a 3 x 5 index card setting and store with the rest of your recipes.
For more recipe, visit the recipe index here!

reckless adulthood

michael kors dress

status quo

photo assistance KRISTABEL PLUMMER location CHELSEA, LONDON
in collaboration with J. LAUREN

* * *

Lately I’ve been stuck in a rut—in this vicious cycle that is wakeup-work-gym-work-dinner-more work-sleep-repeat routine. You know when you do or say a motion continuously it becomes so natural that is feels or sounds awkward? I feel like I’m doing that on a hamster wheel. For a second I thought it was because I didn’t have enough friends to go out and do things with. Being an expat can truly suck. In reality, this rut is just brought on by the fact that I overwhelm myself during the week with to-do lists that surpass the list of countries England colonized. And in times of ultimate stress, it’s the moments of great art or the achievement of personal milestones that remind you why you spend so much of your current life dragging yourself to walk on broken glass to the finish line.
 

{reckless adulthood} via chevrons & éclairs
{reckless adulthood} via chevrons & éclairs {reckless adulthood} via chevrons & éclairs

dissecting the problem

I used to be cool. Partying late into the night where I would need to sober up on some random bridge on the banks of NYC or London or elsewhere to greet the morning sun (this was only a year ago). There was always something to look forward to in the life I used to lead. And now that I’m in this state of idleness/waiting for client emails, is this adulthood?! It seems that most of my friends here are in this phase where they’re settling down (eg. buying houses, starting families, going vegan*) and the thought of that freaks me out. Clearly, we’re not ready here.

*I do associate going recreationally vegan as being responsible. And just to add in here, I did photoshop my knees a bit because they were dirtied and bruised from questionable activities that day, which I will leave right there.

 

{reckless adulthood} via chevrons & éclairs
{reckless adulthood} via chevrons & éclairs {reckless adulthood} via chevrons & éclairs {reckless adulthood} via chevrons & éclairs

hashtag reckless adulthood

Seldom are the days where I can remember sitting down with a bunch of girlfriends, sipping questionably cheap wine and daydreaming about our fantastical weddings, hypothetical husbands and giving birth to a flock of children. Good on you who wanted this in life, but I’m throwing in the white flag and taking life by the balls.

Last week I decided to get dressed up in my new Michael Kors dress, gold heels and luxe accessories sent by J. Lauren. Decidedly, this dress showed a bit more leg than London has ever allowed me to and I’m perfectly fine with living on the edge like that. We went for champagne at mid-day in the middle of the week, shared a platter of oysters and pulled the middle finger on our “responsibilities”. This is #RecklessAdulthood and I’m okay about living it just a tad longer…
 

{reckless adulthood} via chevrons & éclairs
{reckless adulthood} via chevrons & éclairs

 
 
{reckless adulthood} via chevrons & éclairs
 
 

what I wore

dress MICHAEL KORS heels JIMMY CHOO purse JUNO c/o WALLIS nails LAKE c/o ZOYA NAIL POLISH
earrings c/o J.LAUREN lips AMAZING GRACE c/o CHARLOTTE TILBURY

{reckless adulthood} via chevrons & éclairs
{reckless adulthood} via chevrons & éclairs

charlotte hu, london-based photographer

{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs

say hello!

web-siteinstagramfood blog
I made my way into The Orangery to be greeted by a handful of girls for a breakfast meeting. We chatted with out neighbors, but shared glances and the love for food and photography. Listening in on other conversations I noticed a Charlotte was at the table, quickly scrolling through my Instagram-feed, I found a @charlottehuco. I loved her photography, but couldn’t find what she looked like. As conversations progressed, putting pieces together I realized I was at the table with her. The digital fan girl in me was incredibly excited! It turns out she lives just across the bridge, enjoys coffee shops off the beaten track and is a lovely momma to the cutest hedgehog.

Tell us what you do for a living and what you used to do? At what moment did you realize you were capable of transitioning from your corporate to your creative job full-time?
I am a freelance wedding, food and travel photographer but, before that, I was a financial auditor. It was a scary decision to make a career U-turn – putting a decade of further education, professional qualification exams and work experience aside and essentially starting from scratch – but I felt I had to give myself a shot at turning my passion into a living, while I was still young enough to change paths again if I failed. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved so far, and have never had to look back.

Can you tell us about the moment you first picked up a camera? What was it that you wanted to capture?
The first time I picked up a proper camera was to take photos of my friends and classmates on our university graduation day. I knew that I may not see some of them for a long time, so wanted to capture the happiness and excitement in their faces. A few years later, a friend asked me to photograph her wedding – something I hadn’t even considered venturing into. I was so nervous I hardly slept the night before, but I ended up really enjoying shooting the little moments of joy between loved ones, and have been hooked ever since.
 

{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs
{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs {in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs

Introduce us to Bramble!
Bramble is my 3 year old African pygmy hedgehog. She is a little huffy madam most of the time, but I love her. My boyfriend converted our old fireplace into a two-tier cage with a sleeping area, dining area and a play area. She can run up to 5km a night on her wheel! When she’s in a good mood, her muscles are relaxed so her quills are flat, and you can stroke and cuddle her. She loves the warmth of armpits, licking leather things, and having her forehead massaged. PS: follow Bramble on Instagram.

Your food styling is gorgeous! Where do you shop for your props and what is your number one tip for putting together the perfect shot?
I’m obsessed with handmade ceramics (one of my favourite artists is SkandiHus) but also find props in the most random places. I stumbled across a theatre set sale and scooped up lots of cutlery and vintage kitchenalia. Flea markets are also goldmines for rustic props. My ultimate food styling tip is to chase that good light.
 

{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs
{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs
{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs {in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs

Your favorite photo editing app.
At the moment, my smartphone editing process involves Snapseed and Instagram’s native tools. Priime is great for beautiful filters designed by some of my favourite photographers.

Who would you love to cook for and what would you serve?
Where I was born in China, the man of the house is usually as talented in the kitchen as the woman, so growing up I was spoilt with amazing home-cooked meals by both parents. I’d love to master an authentic Chongqing feast to impress my mother and father. Their cooking was a constant expression of love to me, and I want to show them the same.

Favorite restaurant in London and favorite wedding you photographed?
It is too hard to pick a favourite restaurant in London! I’m going to cheat and pick a few – Padella for pasta, Princess Garden of Mayfair for dim sum, Granger & Co or Dishoom for brunch. My favourite local is Italo Deli which makes delicious Italian lunches and sells top quality produce.

{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs
{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs
{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs {in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs

How do you determine growth in your career? What have you done to establish your name as a strong brand?
Over time, I’ve learned that success isn’t simply determined by the number of followers you have on Instagram. I want my career to grow in the right direction so it’s more important to concentrate on targeting the right clients and followers, rather than worrying about quantity. It can be tough to stay true to your own brand, especially when that means turning down potentially lucrative work if it doesn’t align with the future you envision. But it will be worth it!

Where do you seek guidance and inspiration?
It can be both inspirational and intimidating to follow the work of my peers, of photographers in similar fields as mine. Although it’s great to have that supportive community, I also like to look further for inspiration. My own style is constantly evolving and I hope it continues to do so.
 

{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs
{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs {in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs
{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs
{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs {in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs