My Best Blog-Related Purchases

BBar Monthly Linkup

For today’s post, I’m participating in my very first- but definitely not last- blog link up! The lovely ladies at Shop The B Bar asked the question:

‘What did you purchase in the past year that became invaluable to you? Something that makes you think ‘How did I live without this item!?'”

For starters, I’d just like to say that the gift of knowledge can be free- I used this past year to stock up on a lot of free blog-related information, tools and tips via my Professional Development Pinterest board and online resources (like The BBar!) to help me along the way. Also coffee- so much coffee. And I might be lying if I said wine wasn’t involved in some nights.

But moving on to my best purchases, I definitely think these items I bought not only helped me help my skills as a blogger, but as a photographer as well!

Green Smoothie Recipe

1.) My favorite purchase has been my Marble Pastry Block from Crate & Barrel. Not only has it completely elevated my food photography, it also gives my photos the level of chicness that I wanted to achieve. I also use this block for other types of photos as well, and Instagram updates. Definitely my favorite purchase.

2.) My most professional purchase has been my brand new Nikon Nikkor 24-120mm lens. For a while, I was only shooting with my 50mm lens, but soon realized I was going to need something with more scope, especially for a wedding I shot in 2014. This by far has been my most professional purchase because it has actually become my go-to lens when shooting for clients!! (My 50mm still has my heart though.) Honestly, I usually always buy used or refurbished lenses, but this time, I wanted a brand new professional lens to signify the start (or restart) of my photography and blogging journey.


3.) My Macbook Pro – So, it was my dream to have a an Apple desktop computer so I could set up my own in home office, so as a post-deployment present to myself, I bought one. Well, because I’ve been going back and forth from living in New York to house flipping in Iowa for weeks at a time, I needed a way to blog. Having my Macbook has helped me SO MUCH in the times that I’ve been traveling, and I love that it syncs directly to my desktop for the times that I am home.

4.) My most helpful  purchase has been monthly subscriptions to Coschedule and Adobe. Coschedule is a great way to schedule out your blog and social media posts for the months! There are other free scheduling apps that I’ve tried but honestly I loved Coschdule the best. Every photographer needs a good editing system, so of course I have Adobe Photoshop. Adobe came out with a great way to have the newest versions of the program by getting a monthly subscription! And you can pick multiple programs- I’m debating getting InDesign also just to sharpen my layout and design skills.


And of course like I mentioned above, KNOWLEDGE and SELF REFLECTION can sometimes be free! There are so many great resources online for bloggers like you- take advantage of them! There are also e-books and online workshops as well. And don’t forget to peek around your neighborhood- you might find a photography class or a great book to help you with grammar and other skills.

Thank you for reading! DON’T forget to visit these other blogger babes and see their purchases!

THE PARTICIPANTS: The B Bar | Girl in Betsey | Glitter & Bow | Pretty Much | White Cabana | Healthfully Ever After | Boulevard House | Always Craving | Southern Charm & Prints | Perfect Enough For Us | Modish &Main | Alessandra Marie | Jenn Inspired | Luv in the Bubble | A Little Leopard | All the Pretty Stars | York Avenue | PR Blonde | Alyssa J. Freitas | A Loyal Love | Burlap & Lace | Brunch on Chestnut  | Average Girl’s Guide | The Yuppie Files | Cassandra Monroe | Always Anita | PR Girl Diaries | Life Modifier | Business Betties | Cake & Lilies | Little Wild Heart | The Not Quite Adult | Annie Reeves | Rossetto | Lemon Stripes | Meg Biram  | Victoria McGinley

What has been your best purchases this last year for you personally or professionally?

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  • So great to discover your blog through the link-up, and absolutely LOVED your responses. Totally right that knowledge is the best because just learned from your post. I need that marble slab for my insta/blog posts (totally worth it at $50!), and good reminders to take the time to utilize the information that’s out there. thanks!


    • cassandramonroe

      It was great ‘meeting’ you too!! Yes, yes yes to the marble slab. At first I was like… ehhh, will I actually use this, and now- honestly- it is my most used prop. Thanks for reading and stopping by!

  • My best blog related purchases were my Macbook Pro and a subscription to Adobe Photoshop!


    • cassandramonroe

      Yes to both! Such great products- I couldn’t image my life without both. Thanks for reading and stopping by!

  • I’m obsessed with following this link up. Such a fun question with great answers and bloggers taking part. I’m so happy to have found you AND learned so much from you too – I will most definitely be checking out things like coschedule. I’m a disaster when it comes to staying organized. Thanks for sharing love!


    P.S. Your pics are FAB – love that camera strap!!!

    • cassandramonroe

      Thank you for stopping by and reading Kerrie!! And PS- totally love your Instagram quotes you post- I feel like I’ve told you this like three times!

  • I have that slab, too! It’s great for photos and for serving up fun things on the weekend 🙂 I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, your photos are always SO gorgeous!

    • cassandramonroe

      You know, I feel like I’ll EVENTUALLY use it for what it’s supposed to be for but for now, it’s working pretty great for photos!! and THANK YOU !!! So glad to hear you like my photos 🙂

  • Girl, InDesign is the best program that Adobe has to offer, in my opinion. If you make a lot of stuff that has text in it, InDesign is your best bet. Photoshop works for it, but if you have ever printed text from Photoshop, the edges look jaggedy sometimes. InDesign will eliminate that problem. Okay… I sound like I am getting paid by Adobe to say this. Hahahaha. For real though, GET IT! 🙂

    • cassandramonroe

      YES!! I swear by InDesign- I want to sharpen my skills on it though because the only time I ever use it is when I end up getting deployed with the Army (I’m a military photojournalist/layout and designer) So I definitely don’t want to get rusty and lose my shortcuts!

  • I LOVE all your invaluable purchases! I got a marble board last year too and I agree — it really helps you up your food photography game. Thanks for participating in our first linkup!

    • cassandramonroe

      Thanks for having me! Such a great way to meet other blogger babes!

  • I’ve been looking at that marble slab for months. I have to run some errands this afternoon, including a trip to C&B. Your photos look beautiful with the slab and it has so many uses!

    • cassandramonroe

      Thank you Erica!! It is pretty great… I DO plan on using it for it’s real use someday, but for now, using it as a prop works! And to reply to your other comment, Bethany is such a doll, loved working with her!! Plus, she’s doing SO great with the Collaboreat!

  • And I just realized Bethany designed your blog. I met her at Alt last June and keep up with her on Instagram. Small world!

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  • Wow, I have some serious lens envy!! I have my trusty 50mm f1.8 Nikkor that I LOVE but I too have been thinking I need a little more scope lately – trying to justify the investment though. Definitely can’t go past the Macbook Pro – I tried so hard to resist Mac but they really are fantastic for blogging. I only charge mine every few days and can usually get anywhere from 8 to 12 hours out of a single charge. A-may-zing. Loving this link up and everyones answers!!!

    • cassandramonroe

      50mm is definitely my favorite lens, ESPECIALLY because of it’s ability to go to lower f-stops. Thanks for stopping by and checking out my answers, Krystal! Great linking up with you!

  • I love this post, Cassandra! Your photos are gorgeous, and that marble slab is to die for! I love it as a food photography backdrop. I usually use a wooden cutting board or just a white cotton dishtowel, but that marble slab is definitely a step up. I kinda want it now :). And your business cards are so adorable!

    • cassandramonroe

      Thanks so much Jackie! Actually I’m looking into wooden backgrounds too now, I’ve been dying to make a wooden pallet board photography background contraption. I got my business cards from Rifle Paper Co. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Caitlin

    love your tips and so happy i found your blog!

    • cassandramonroe

      I’m so happy you stopped by Caitlin!

  • I LOVE co-schedule! Couldn’t live without it either! I need to get that pastry board! Your photos are gorgeous!

    • cassandramonroe

      Thanks Ellie! And yes, CoSchedule- SUCH a lifesaver!

  • That marble slab is seriously life changing! I’ve used it for a few photography back drops but it also looks stunning on my coffee table! I also think you should make the indesign purchase. I recently got a subscription to Lynda and have done about 15 hours of indesign courses through it and I can’t say enough good things about it. That is probably one of my best investments to date!

    • cassandramonroe

      I totally have never thought about putting the slab on the coffee table- such a great idea girl! I’ve noticed you’ve been using a marble background lately, your photos are turning out great! Oh I used to use Lynda all the time while I was full time Army overseas- so many great online courses! Skillshare is great too. LOVE InDesign- I used to layout the last few military publications I worked on with Indesign. I really don’t want to lose my skill since I’m not using it full time anymore!

  • Great picks! My camera has been one of my most important purchases as well. And I love that fun camera strap!


    • cassandramonroe

      Thanks Nikki! A good DSLR investment will go a long way. Thanks for stopping by!

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  • These are wonderful tips! I love this post, thanks for sharing your knowledge!

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