House Party makes it easy to have a party in your own home and get exclusive access to awesome products for you and your friends. We provide the fun, you provide food, your friends and feedback and promise to have an amazing time.

Life Through the Instagram Lens

I'll be completely honest, I resisted at first. I don't always go in for the latest fads, in fact, I frequently hold-off until there's evidence that either you, our community, or the population in general has attached a degree of significance on a trend that we need to be sure we're recognizing and serving. As Social Media Director here at House Party, I'm constantly immersing myself in new platforms, communities and digital phenomena. However, as I said earlier, I try to make sure I balance that "What's the newest, shiniest thing?" response with an underlying eye for a strategic approach that ultimately benefits you - our community! So, I held off on Instagram for some time. But then I recognized the need and dabbled. And then I occasionally used it. And then I found myself crouching, laying down or talking to people for minutes at a time in odd places all around New York City trying to find lighting effects or best angles for a shot to tell a story. You might as well call this last iteration addiction, because I'm there.

In fact, I just managed to spend 10 full minutes toggling through filter options, light exposure and tilt-shift on a shot that I took in a coffee shop. Yes, 10 full minutes. *blush* It's no masterpiece, but I think I conveyed the perspective I was going for. If you're not familiar with any of these terms, fear not. Instagram certainly is cloaked in a hipster trendiness that sends some running for the hills. That said though, the way this mobile app allows you to tell wordless stories, change the "mood" of shots with filtering features and share it with your friends by way of social media platforms and email is remarkably seamless. It's also easy and quick - well maybe not that last one if you're as engrossed as I am at times. Additionally, it can create a network of people outside your typical friends that you come to respect for their eye on things as well as others who appreciate your eye.

The great thing is, as long as you have a smartphone, you can take part - the app is free to download and now available in Google's Android Market and, as always, in Apple's App Store. There are also a few great guides to help you get started on the platform, from Marmalade Moon, PhotoCruncher and MacWorld. So, to finish this little ode-to-Instagram, I thought I'd share a day in my life via the photo app. I invite you to view your world a little bit differently by dabbling with the app (and others like it) and pass your pics along!

5 ways to bust family boredom...fast

How does your garden grow? (Planting the seeds for a great garden...)