Thursday, February 28, 2013

{hikes & hilly views}

I'm WAY late on this post, because this happened two weeks ago, but I thought it was still worth sharing.

The weather was AH.MAY.ZING. a few weeks rose up to the 80s!  Emily & I decided to capitalize on this, so we spent the day outside. We got up early & headed out on a hike.

click to make larger.

After we got home, we called up our friend Lynne & drove to the Griffith Observastory. It was packed, but it's free & the views are beautiful. From this spot you get a 360 degree view of LA! We walked around the main garden & observatory roof. There's a museum inside, but we skipped that.


It was pretty windy, lol.

We were smarties & brought In-N-Out with us. By-standers were jeal.

Hello moon, it's noon!

Perfect LA day :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

{a lesson I learned about copyright infringement}

This post is going to be long. & crazy. But I went through an unexpected experience last week & learned a hard lesson. So I wanted to share it.

Back in October I created an email address for this blog -- -- & because I have so many accounts, I set it up that nifty feature where all emails that were sent to the blog account were forwarded to my personal email. I even tested it out. All emails sent to my blog address were immediately sent to my personal one.  It worked perfectly.

Until apparently it didn't. Because when I logged into the blog email account on Thursday--for the first time in four months--there were five unread emails sitting in the inbox. Two weren't important, but the other three made my heart stop.

They were from the same person--let's call him Tom Jones--a photographer who had traced one of his photos back to my blog. Last May, I wrote a post about going to Jamaica & used Google Images to find a picture of a Jamaican beach. {The post has since been deleted.} I picked the prettiest, dreamiest picture I could fine, uploaded it to the blog, & cited the image by linking it back to the original source.  Whenever I use an image that isn't mine, I always cite it. 

One thing I didn't notice? 

It was copyrighted.

Tom Jones is a professional photographer that is represented by two agencies & is paid every time someone uses his photo. You must also ask for permission before using it.  I didn't do this before using the image of Jamaica {which is actually Singapore} so he emailed me to take it down immediately.

Can I many of you--meaning every one who is reading this right now--has taken a picture from Google?  For a project, paper, or tumblr post?

How many of you have asked permission of the photographer before using it?

I'm guessing no one, right?  Or just a few of you?

Well if you didn't, it's wrong. If an image is copyrighted, or owned by someone, you can't use it unless you ask. 

Tom's first email was nice & polite, with him simply asking me to take down the photo. He even complimented me on the blog & my photographs. Really nice guy.  But because I didn't receive the email, I didn't respond, so the next email was a little more serious. He told me that if I didn't take the photo down by the end of October, he would pursue the matter more roughly.  I didn't receive this email either.

His final email came in December. This is what it said: "If you don't remove my image of Singapore from your site I will have to resort to using a DMCA take-down notice of your site for copyright infringement."

In other words, I was going to get SUED for copyright infringement. 

Me...a harmless 21-year-old blogger from Philadelphia...was getting sued. 

When I read this last Thursday, you can imagine what this evoked from me. Instant tears. Instant worry. Instant calls to my dad asking, "Can I borrow your lawyer?!" Instant OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE?!?!?  

Here's how I feel about the whole situation:  I'm really embarrassed.  I found out I was being sued for copyright infringement the DAY AFTER I wrote a blog post on how to watermark your photos so this doesn't happen to you. 

Even though I cited the image, & thought I was doing the right thing, it simply wasn't enough. The website I got it from took the picture from the photo agency's website, so I didn't see anything about the photo being copyrighted. But even so, I shouldn't have taken it in the first place.  As a photographer myself, I would hate for someone to steal my photo--especially if it was for-profit.  To think I did this to someone makes me want to crawl in a hole. 

Secondly, I'm incredibly sorry. Tom was rightfully angry, not only because I took his image without permission, but because I {seemingly} ignored him for four months.  But I'm very VERY lucky that he is as understanding & as nice as he is, because after I explained that my emails weren't forwarded, he decided to pull the DMCA paperwork. Therefore, I'm not getting sued & Lively Liv will stay as my little corner of the internet.

I've never heard of someone actually getting "caught" taking an image from Google. Have you? But it happens & it happened to me. 

This situation really freaked me. It weighed on my mind all weekend. Like I said before: I'm sorry. I really am. But I'll be made me a bit angry. {& I hope by saying that I won't come off as disrespectful, because that's the last thing I want to be.}'s unfair that I'm one of the few getting caught. What about the millions of other bloggers, facebookers, pinners, & tumblr-users that use photos that aren't theirs?  I tried to do the right thing by citing the image, but I still got in trouble. What about the people who don't even do that? Or purposely steal pictures & make money off of them? 

I know this experience will make me second-guess every blog post I write from now on, because frankly, it already has. I was going to do a post about my picks for best & worst dressed from the Oscars, but I didn't want to "take" the dress photos from websites without being allowed to. I didn't know if I needed to email & ask if I could use their images. But then I saw that they were actually given to them by Getty Images, so...did I need to email them & ask? Are the photos copyrighted by Just Jared or Getty?  Or are they okay to "use" & simply cite?  I didn't know, & I didn't want to be wrong again.  So I didn't write the post, because writing a fashion post isn't the same without pictures. & that bummed me out.

This is my blog. The place I feel most comfortable in writing & sharing. The fact that this situation is making me uncomfortable in my own space is really upsetting me. Among other topics, I've used this blog to share personal feelings & hard family situations that I've been going through, but never once was I ever scared to post anything. Now I am. & I hate that. But there are restrictions & laws that I must follow, so I will do my best to follow them. 

I know I was wrong. What I did was absolutely wrong. I learned my lesson & it won't happen again.

In the meantime, I will stick to my own photographs. Because I'm pretty good with a camera, & I think my blog will do just fine with original "Olivias" :) 
This is a quote from Roni Loren, someone who went through the same thing as me:

  • if you link back to the source and list the photographer's name
  • if the picture is not full-sized (only thumbnail size is okay)
  • if you did it innocently
  • if your site is non-commercial and you made no money from the use of the photo
  • if you didn't claim the photo was yours
  • if you've added commentary in addition to having the pic in the post
  • if the picture is embedded and not saved on your server
  • if you have a disclaimer on your site.
  • if you immediately take down a pic if someone sends you a DMCA notice (you do have to take it down, but it doesn't absolve you.)
NONE OF THAT releases you from liability. You are violating copyright if you have not gotten express PERMISSION from the copyright holder OR are using pics that are public domain, creative commons, etc."

So there you have it.

If you take away anything from this, take away this: don't use an image unless you ask. It's illegal.
{Also, triple-check your email forwarding system to make sure it really works. Thanks for nothing, Gmail! I wish I could blame this all on you, but I think I take the cake on this one.}

* I told "Tom Jones" that I would write about this, so I hope he is content with the way I wrote this post. Tom, if you're reading, I'm sorry again.*

**For those wondering: Sally Field, Stacy Keibler, Charlize Theron, & Joseph Gordon-Levitt were on my best-dressed list.  Nicole Kidman, Norah Jones, & Samuel L. Jackson were on my worst.**

***If you have any similar stories or experiences, please share them with me. I'd love to hear them.***

Friday, February 22, 2013

{pinterest inspired outfits, part II}

Here's another round of outfits!

Outfit A: Oversized sweater & leggings. {paired with a long necklace}

Sweater // UNIQLO {thanks aunt v!}
Leggings // J.Crew
Boots // DSW

Outfit B: Jean shirt/dress & white jeans. 
Mine would look much better if the dress was a tad shorter. But I worked with what I had.

Jeans // Adriano Goldschmied {similar here}
Dress // J.Crew {similar here}
Shoes // Old Navy

Outfit C: Leather mini & a blouse.

Does that model not have the TINIEST waist ever? Also, if I had tights...I'd add them to my outfit.

 Shirt // Forever 21
Leather Mini // ModCloth {similar here}
Shoes // Old Navy

Outfit D: Navy, pink, & mint.
Blazer // Nordstrom {BP Section, Sloosh}
Shirt // My mom's closet :) But Gap
Chinos // J.Crew
Oxfords // Target

I'm having a love affair with these shoes.

& if you buy them online, not in the store like I did, they're $10 cheaper. You lucky ducks. 

Have you done this challenge yet? It's super fun! Saves me some moolah too, since it--once again--proves I don't need any more clothes. {Someone text me today & remind me of that though. Because I'm headed to newly-opened TopShop & I'm not responsible for what happens there.}

Happy Friday!

**All fashion images are from Pinterest. I do not own them. They belong to their respective pinners/photographers. Photographs by my roommate, Emily.**

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

{recipe: homemade basil parmesan fries}

I made these the other night. They were worth sharing...

Parmesan Basil Fries


  • 4 medium red potatoes (or any other kind of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Combine cheese, oil, basil, & salt into a large zip lock bag (or a bowl).

2. Cut whole potatoes into 1/4 inch sticks. Leave the skin on! 

3. Throw potato sticks into the zip lock, close securely, & shake vigorously for a minute.

4. Place potatoes onto a greased baking sheet.

look at all that parmesan. so. good.

5. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes; turn potatoes. Bake 15-20 minutes longer or until they're crisp. 

Then eat!

So easy & the perfect side dish. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

{why I watermark my photos & how you can too}

Why do I watermark my photos?

I watermark my photos because I don't want people to steal them. Simple as that.

Now...I'm fully aware that people can still steal them, because it's incredibly easy, but it's just another way to mark them & say I own them.

The photos...not the people. ;)

I made my watermark in Photoshop, but since not everyone has Photoshop, I made a tutorial on how to make one using Pixlr. It's a GREAT online editing program; I highly recommend using it.

So without further ado, here's how to make a watermark.{& if you can't watch the video, click "read more" to see a photo version.}

{ps. sorry about all the tongue-tied-ness. once I hit "record" I got all nervous :) }

Click the full screen button to make it easier to read.

Monday, February 18, 2013

{my first model photoshoot--some details!}

Have you ever been to a Meetup group? Or even on the site?  This is from the website: "Meetup is the world's largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 9,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities." 

I'd  heard about it a long time ago & was immediately interested, but I didn't know what kind of Meetup to join. I looked for some photography groups in Boston,but I was disappointed by the selection. I have this amazing camera...but no one to take pictures of! So I searched some Los Angeles-area photography groups & found the perfect one.  It's also a real photography club, so they offer classes as well.

The first Meetup was an "Open Shoot" on a mountain with a real model.  I immediately signed up!

I've gotta say though...I was nervous. Not only was I going alone, but I didn't know what I was going to walk in to. Were the other group members going to be sketchy? Was it going to be disorganized? Was I going to get totally scammed? {I paid a very small fee to attend.}  This group has done a number of different photo shoots: fashion, editorial, portrait, boudoir, nude.  Which brings me to the next thing I was nervous about...was I going to show up to a completely naked model?! Because I'm not quite ready for that yet :) {if ever, lol}

Thankfully it was a fully-clothed model & the people that attended were so welcoming to me! I was the only newbie.  I'll also admit that I strolled in there thinking I was hot stuff with my awesomely advanced camera & expensive lenses... & was quickly put in my place. Those peeps were good.

The weather was a lot colder & cloudier than I would've liked, but it was still pretty enjoyable!  I went in with one goal: get more comfortable communicating with a model. I've really only done candids or "posey" photos, not fashion.  I'm not used to giving much direction, so I was a jittery, stammering wreck. {Think, "Uh, can you please turn to the righ--actually look up, or um...could you maybe, like, put your foot in front of you? Yeah, like that. Okay thanks."}

The BEST part of the whole experience? How supportive, encouraging, & helpful the other photographers were. One guy even let me use two of his lenses. I'm not talking amateur lenses, either. I'm talkin' over $1000+ per lens.  I can't tell you how appreciative & grateful I was that he let me borrow them for the session, considering he'd just met me. But he said, "I never had a photography mentor that let me try out their lenses & that would've helped me out so much. So I want to be that person. Now you'll know what lenses you can look forward to." See? So nice.  I was pretty much in heaven.

Here are my best shots. I'm excited to add these to my growing portfolio! & I'm happy to report that I'm definitely more comfortable photographing models!

I suggest you sign up for Meetup if you're looking to meet new people who have the same interests. They have everything: cooking groups, movie groups, mom groups, etc. You'll find something for you :)

Thanks for letting me share these! I can't wait to do another shoot :)

{For those wondering, I used my 18-135mm EF-S IS STM lens & 50mm 1.4, and the borrowed EF 24-105mm f/4 & EF 70-200mm f/2.8.}

*This is not a sponsored post.
**& please excuse the super large watermarks. I especially don't want these shots stolen. Thanks!

Friday, February 15, 2013

{confessional friday link-up}

I'm linking up with Leslie over at A Blonde Ambition for Confession Friday! If you haven't visited her so It's one of my faves.

Here are my confessions...

...I confess that all week I've been sneaking in tastes of the cream cheese icing I bought for my cinnamon rolls. I blame my sophomore year roommate for getting me hooked on pretzels & icing. {I'm lookin' at you Kayla.} It's amazing. Trust me.

...I confess that I watched 7th Heaven this week {remember that show?} & I confess that I cried.  {It was an episode about the armed forces.}

...I confess that I look like this when I wake up in the morning:

Bangs. Sigh.

...I confess that I've been on a Mexican food kick all week. Enchiladas, quesadillas, nachos, Chipotle. So bad, but soooo good.

...I confess that I didn't leave my apartment until 5:30pm yesterday. I worked allll day on blog stuff & by 5 o'clock I was stumbling around from blurry computer eyes. So I ran to my roommate's office & walked home with her to get some fresh air. It felt amazing to run!

...I confess that I'm way more excited to go to Disneyland in two weeks than a 21-year-old probably should.

...I confess that I nearly jumped for joy when my boss texted me about having no work on Monday. I love my job, but man alive do I love days off.

...Finally, I confess that I'm hoping to get a few "likes" on the brand spankin' new Lively Liv Facebook page & followers on Twitter. I'll make it worth your while :)  {see the icons in the top right hand corner}

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

{in honor of this sweet day...}

Thank you, Buzzfeed, for this delicious article. I can't wait to try some!

ps. Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

{homemade gluten-free chocolate-covered pretzels}

SO simple, I shouldn't even blog about it. But I'm in a blogging groove, so I'm going to :)

You need TWO things. Easy peasy.

1) Pretzels
2) Chocolate chips {dark, milk, white or a mix? whatever floats your boat}

Put some chips in a bowl & heat in the microwave for ONE minute.

It'll look like the chips aren't melted, but just mix it around wih a spoon. The heat will melt all of the chips {like below}. Keep stirring until everything is smooth.

I tried to do this as neatly as possible & make them look store-bought, but after the third pretzel I gave up. I ended up taking a spoon & just pouring chocolate on the tops of each.  It's a bit messy, so I suggest using parchment paper.

chocolate meet pretzel.

 Then I put them in the freezer overnight.

I made about 40 pretzels. I can't stop eating's becoming a real problem :) I want to make some with dark chocolate & sprinkles!

Go make some! :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

{a gluten-free cinnamon bun!}

A few weeks ago, I walked passed a Cinnabon & my knees went weak. There are few smells as tantalizing as the aroma of freshly baked cinnamon buns. Am I right?  Ever since then they've been on my mind. So I was soooo happy to find gluten-free cinnamon buns tucked away in the frozen aisle of Pam MacD's.

They are made by Rising Hearts Bakery & come four to a package. {& I about DIED when I googled the company. There is an actual Rising Hearts Bakery very close to me in LA. If I go missing, look there.}

Before I get to the good stuff, there's two downsides to this product. The biggest? The fact that it's frozen. Now...I'm totally down with frozen foods. That's not the issue. {& the fact that it's frozen dough just makes the bun taste even better when you make it.} The problem?  I woke up the other morning so excited to have a bun for breakfast & almost cried when I read the directions. You have to let it rise to room temperature for 90 minutes, before baking it for 30 minutes. Say what?! 

Here's what it looks like after it's risen:

& here is the glorious cinnamon bun after it's baked:

It bakes perfectly every time. It's kinda crazy. Tip: Mine were done after 15 minutes of baking, not the suggested 30. Check the oven! 

I also went out & bought some cream-cheese icing to top it off. I may have put too much on. You can never have too much icing.


Apologies for the less-than-photogenic messy plate. I kinda went to town.

OMG were they delicious. It was actually a good thing that the entire process of baking one took 2 hours because I would've made another one right after I finished the first. 

The second downside is so not a big deal, but here it is: I'm not a fan of raisins, & these buns have 'em. But they aren't baked in--just placed--so it's super easy to pick them out :)

Who wants a cinnamon bun now? Did I tease you enough?

If you live in CA, look for these in your grocery store! & if you don't & really want them, Rising Hearts can ship to you. {But there's a pretty hefty price.}  OR...visit me! We'll eat some together.

**I was not compensated for this review. Just sharing the love.