Monday, February 19, 2018

Level Up Your Photography Game

Hello!

Today I'm want to share a couple ways that I've improved my photo taking method over the years, and how I get inspiration for keeping my style of photography fresh and interesting!

The area I feel I've shown the most improvement in is lighting. I've always struggled with getting the appearance of natural lighting indoors, I spent ages researching light sources, lightboxes, and even made a couple DIY lightboxes.
I got some passable results, but in the end nothing beats outdoor lighting. It's so much easier for me to dart outside and snap a few pics, instead of messing with my light setup indoors for ten minutes or more trying to get something decent. It's especially apparent in nail pictures, anything I shoot indoors tends to look yellow compared to real life.


Indoors & Tinged Yellow

Outdoors & Colorful!
An easy way to spice up an otherwise boring photo is to pose your subject with an unique background! I run into this often with beauty reviews. I enjoy sharing images of the product in my review, but more often than not the packaging is too dull on it's own to deserve a photo.

For instance, I showed this simple swatch in front of a panel of wood; if I had gone with a plain white background this would have been a unremarkable picture, but when it's posed in this way it creates a more pleasing image.





You can also flip this around by using a simple background to create contrast with a detailed subject like below:




You can also plan ahead by browsing through your go-to social media feed, (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc) and keeping track of any images that draw your eye. 
What piqued your attention? An eye catching color combination, a unique camera angle, or maybe the posing of the object? I started a Pinterest board to save photos that stand out to me; you can check it out here:



Whenever I've hit the writer's block equivalent of photography, I'll scroll through my board, or just through social media feeds to find an idea to inspire the project I'm tackling at the moment. 
I created a board dedicated to color combinations I'd like to try in the future, this can help you decide which background or props to include in a photo.

One last way you can change things up is switch your point of view. There's a reason you see photographers getting into weird positions to snap the perfect shot, straight ahead is not always your best bet!
Straight On & Boring

Try a bird's eye view, or eye level with the subject, or even tilted from the side! When I'm taking nail art pictures, I usually sift through 10-15 shots of slightly different angles to pick the one I find most appealing. Don't be afraid to take tons of pictures, it's good to have options!


With an Interesting Angle



Have any tips you want to share? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Conquering Gel Nails


Hello!

I've been fighting an ongoing battle with gel for a couple years now; I've never been able to get a set to cure properly until just now.

I got a few polishes when I was reviewing for Born Pretty a few years ago, and I had also picked up some mini-kits at the drugstore, but no matter what brand I used, I always had problems with shrinkage or the polish just wouldn't cure properly. I used to change my polish almost every other day, so gels never appealed to me until now since the main benefit is the wear time.

As of late, I haven't had as much time to change up my polish. I've either had bare nails *gasp*, or chipped nails in between each design.
So I started researching into gels and I picked up Sally Hansen Salon Gel Kook A Mango to experiment with, and I was able to iron out most of the kinks in my technique!


I started "flash curing" each nail as I worked my way through each hand. This is where you cure the individual nail for around 10 seconds to keep the polish from shrinking around the edges and cuticles. I also tossed the cheap cleanser I had been using and switched to plain old rubbing alcohol. 

Apparently, all the cleansers that nail brands sell are basically just perfumed rubbing alcohol with a colorant. I had been using a mini LED light that came from a Fuse mini-kit, I think it was the root of a lot of my problems since it had a low wattage.

I got this Ceenwes LED/UV 24W lamp off of Amazon, and I've been very happy with it! I had some reward points floating around on Born Pretty so I have some new pots of gel coming in the mail, once I get my hands on them I'm planning on doing a little series about putting together your own gel kit. I know it can be a bit daunting in the beginning, what with choosing a lamp, polishes, base/topcoat, so I want to share my experiences with you all so that you can have fun with gels too!

Have you played with gel before? If so, what's your favorite brand? 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Sephora 2018 Birthday Freebie

 Hello!

I thought I would share my pick of Sephora's birthday gifts for 2018, I went with the mini Bite Beauty Lip Kit~


It comes with Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Chai, Matte Creme Lip Crayon in Glace, Agave Lip Balm, and Agave Sugar Lip Scrub.

I did not care for the lip balm, I found it too waxy and it felt almost plastic on the lips. I enjoyed using the lip crayon as a lip liner, but I wouldn't use it on its own due to the dryness of the formula. 

My fave of the group is definitely the lipstick, Chai is such a pretty mauve semi-matte finish.


Which product did you pick for your birthday gift? 

If you haven't signed up for the Beauty Insider program, I highly suggest it! There's no purchase required to pick up your b-day goodies at the store; what's stopping you?

Friday, February 2, 2018

DIY Chalkboard Computer Desk


Hello!

My work recently got rid of a bunch of office furniture and let the employees have their pick before it was taken to be thrown away. This desk had been sitting out front of the building for a couple weeks; I had no interest in it whatsoever because it looked huge and kinda ugly. But the BF managed to convince me to let him cart it home after a few days of wheedling. (Yes, it will fit in the truckI'll make squeeze it down the apartment's staircase, and no it's not too big)



My one condition in having this take up a good chunk of real estate in my living room was that I could paint, glue, or decorate it with whatever design I wanted :)

I've done a lot of research into making DIY chalkboard paint because I love the idea of making furniture chalkable, but I was afraid that using this as a computer desk would be too rough on the paint. I found big rolls of chalkboard vinyl at our local craft shop for 7.99 each, which solved my durability worries, and plus I don't have to worry about paint fumes messing with the hedgehog.


It took a fair bit of tetris to make the two rolls of vinyl cover the entire curved table top, but I managed it!



I'm definitely going to have fun drawing on this in the future!

Back into the swing of things

Hello!

As the days have gotten chillier, I've found myself spending most of my morning dreading leaving the warm bed to get ready for work, and far less time worrying about skincare, much less putting any makeup on.

I'd gone around a month without wearing a lick of makeup and it reminded me just how much of a pain wearing a full face of makeup can be; you tend to tune it out after a while and you don't realize all the little habits you adopt to avoid smudging or smearing your work.

My biggest problem is if I go too long between using eyeliner/mascara and then I happen to wear it one day, I will find myself halfway through rubbing an eye and think Oh crap, I have raccoon eyes now. Or second to that, I frequently brace my elbow on my desk and rest my face in my hand when I stop to think while typing, so if I'm not careful, I will end up with half my face smeared off.
I have also accidentally rested my head on my bf's shoulder at the wrong time and gotten orange makeup stains on his poor white shirt...




My temporary solution is the selection of makeup above, I don't have to worry about washing it off at the end of the day with the exception of the highlighter, and they all have light natural finishes that won't show smears!

Moisturizer/Primer: Y.F.M Snail Repair Cream


Do you ever run into problems like this? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

This post includes some complimentary products that were received for testing in the past and affiliate links.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Golden Beauty Routine


Hiya!

You know how people talk about reaching milestones in relationships like wearing your ratty sweatpants around your significant other or getting ready in the morning together when you're still a half-asleep grumpy zombie?

I'm of the opinion that if you can wander the house in a full sheet mask looking a bit like Michael Meyers without getting a second glance, you're in a different ballpark (⌒▽⌒) The new Zombie Pack face mask from Hanacure I've been wanting to try might test this, even I'm a little grossed out by how the results look!


I don't consider these collagen masks from Pilaten to be too eye-catching, but it's hard to have your mouth basically taped shut for twenty minutes while using the lip mask!
Pilaten's PR was lovely enough to send me a big packet of their Collagen Eye Mask and Collagen Lip Mask to review. These are infused with collagen, aloe vera, and real gold. 

Ever since the mercury dropped this winter, my lips have been terribly chapped no matter how often I slap on lip balm. I was shocked when this lip mask actually lent me some relief, I usually save pamper items like these to use a few times a month, but I burned through a few in a week!

The formula is identical between the lip and eye product. I didn't notice as much of a result after using the eye mask, but I've never run into problems with dark circles or bags so I don't have much to work on in that area.

If you do ever check out Pilaten's website here's a coupon: Golden10 to get 10% off your cart :)



What's your favorite type of face mask to relax with?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Clean & Dry Makeup Brushes in 20 Seconds Flat?!


Hello!

I am one of the worst people out there in regards to keeping my brushes clean. I don't wear a full face of makeup anywhere near as often as I used to a year or so ago, but I'm still really crappy at remembering *coughbotheringtocough* to clean my brushes.....

This nifty device may be changing up my bad habit, this can actually clean and dry a brush in under 20 seconds; hand on my heart it isn't clickbait!



This was surprisingly fun to use, I was also shocked at how fast it spins! I used roughly a teaspoon of baby shampoo with warm water to clean the brushes. If you watch the video above you can see a brush immediately after I remove it from the cleaner, I'm impressed by how bone dry the bristles were even after being soaked!


To give you an idea of how fast this thing gets, I snapped a pic of one of the first brushes I cleaned,  as you can see from the picture below it was completely flattened out from the speed. This is from the brand Kesouli; I have a strong feeling this is meant to be a knockoff of the StylPro cleaner that was making the rounds this summer, and I'm perfectly fine with that, because fifty bucks is just too much, enough said.



The only brushes I couldn't fit into the rubber caps were my skinny unicorn brushes, and that's probably a blessing in disguise because they came from a super cheap shop and I've already had issues with shedding, so the "spin cycle" would've definitely spelled their doom. It works amazingly on big powder brushes, but not so much on anything really small or with tightly packed bristles like a concealer brush, which makes sense since it's relying on moving the bristles around and not actually using any friction to get the job done.

What's your preferred way to clean your brushes? Let me know!