August Low-Buy

Today’s post is on everything I picked up in the month of August, and to share how I did in my August low-buy! I know today is only the 30th, but I know I won’t be picking anything up in the last two days off the month, so it’s safe to do this post!

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LipstickontheLake Giveaway Goodies

Recently, Robyn from Lipstickonthelake started self-hosting her blog, and she hosted a giveaway as a celebration. I was so pleased and surprised when she emailed me saying that I was the giveaway winner! Go check out Robyn’s blog if you aren’t already following it – not only is her blog now self-hosted, but she also just reached her one year blogging anniversary. Thank you for the generous giveaway, Robyn, and a big congratulations to you!

The prize for the giveaway was an Urban Decay Naked Palette of my choice. I already own the Naked 1 palette, which I absolutely love and is my fall-back palette on days I don’t know what to use. I was trying to decide between Naked 2 and 3, and ended up choosing Naked 2. As much as I love the pink/rosy shades in Naked 3, I have a feeling I’ll get more use out of the taupey shades in Naked 2, plus Robyn said that one was her favourite.

Anyways, today I just wanted to share some quick pics of what came in the mail! Swatches will come in a separate post at a later date 🙂

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Review: Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish

I’ve had my eye on the Essie Gel Couture polishes for the past month, and I finally purchased one at the beginning of August. The shade I chose was Sew Me, which Essie describes as a cream caramel rose. I also bought the top coat to see how the nail polish would last when paired with the top coat it was meant to go with. The Gel Couture line claims to give “14 days of luxurious wear and instant gel-like shine”, without needing a UV lamp. I was hesitant to try wearing this for 14 days as I do my nails every weekend without fail, and didn’t know how long my resolve would last before I crumbled and took the polish off. However, on Day 7, I decided to stick it out for another week for testing purposes.

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August Reads

Umm…I realized the other week I haven’t done a book post since January! How bad is that? I’ve actually done a lot of reading since then, but most of them just weren’t that noteworthy.

Last week, I finished the book I Let You Go by Clare Macintosh. The first time I heard about this book was actually on a subway ad while we were in Toronto back in May. The ad said that it was the new “Gone Girl” or “Girl on the Train”. Even though I loved both Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, I hate how all psychological thrillers are compared to those two books nowadays. Nonetheless, the ad still sucked me in because I love psychological thrillers. I wanted to buy it as soon as we got home from Toronto, but I had other books to finish off first.

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Behind the Scenes Tag

Today’s post is a tag that Stashmatters tagged me in a few weeks ago. It was really interesting to read the behind-the-scenes of her blog posts, so I thought it would be fun to share what I do. A big thanks to Stashy for tagging me!

Tag Questions

1) What camera do you use?

I switch between using a point-and-shoot camera and my phone. My phone is the ASUS Zenfone 2. People seem to get weirded out that I don’t use either an iPhone or Samsung, but I frigging love this phone. My point and shoot is the Canon Powershot SD1400 IS. It’s nothing special, it’s just the camera I had on hand when I first started blogging!

 Source 1. Source 2.

 

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2) What editing system do you use?

I use GIMP, which is a free program. When I started blogging, I knew I would need something to edit my photos, so I Googled ‘free photo editing programs’ and GIMP was the first one to came up. The name sounds familiar from my childhood, although I don’t think I ever used it until I started blogging. I loved using Photoshop as a teen and got used to how much that program can do compared to GIMP, but it works for what I need it to do!

 

3) Do you use artificial or natural lighting?
I use natural lighting about 90% of the time. There are three locations where I make my blog posts:

  1. The backyard deck (I hope the worn-off paint gives my photos a “rustic” feel but it more likely just looks like the deck needs to be repainted, hehe 😛 ):

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2. The kitchen counter:

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3. In front of a window:

My parents’ home has a floor-to-ceiling window, which I take pictures in front of. I use two pieces of white poster paper as the backdrop and floor. The house gets tons of natural lighting, but somehow the brightness doesn’t translate in photos – that really surprised me when I first started taking pictures for my blog. As a result, I try not to take photos indoors if I don’t have to.

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Yeah, I know you’re jealous of my super sophisticated setup 😛

However, I am trying not to rely so much on natural light anymore, considering that for nearly half the year, the daylight is too short and/or it’s too cold and snowy for me to take pictures outdoors. I just purchased an LED lamp from OttLite not too long ago, so I’m hoping that will help with taking better indoor photos.

 

Source.

4) What is the top item on your filming wishlist?
My answer is similar to Stashy’s: big umbrella light with a large white backdrop. Would also love a more professional camera (not that I’d know how to use it :P)

 

5) What is your favorite day in the week to write / photograph?
I tend to write on weeknights after work. As I find photographs more time-consuming, I try to do most of my photographing on the weekends, as that’s when there is the best chance I have of getting an extended block of free time to take pictures. Usually I end up taking photos on Sundays, and then I’ll usually edit the photos on weeknights as well.

 

6) Do you plan your posts. If so, how?
I used to plan out my posting schedule via Excel. When I first started, I had three months’ worth of posts planned! However, I started a new position at work shortly after I started blogging, and I found that I was/am doing a lot of unplanned overtime, which made me fall behind schedule since I had less and less time to work on my blog after work. I now try to plan my posts two weeks at a time , and I don’t use Excel anymore. Since two weeks’ worth of blog posts is only 4 posts for me, it’s fairly easy to keep track of them in my drafts. Unfortunately, I find that I still fall behind on posts sometimes because, say, I had planned to edit my photos Wednesday night so that I can post on Thursday, but then I end up working late and couldn’t take the photos. I think that just comes down to getting more of my blogs finished as early as possible – it’s a work in progress!

 

 7) How long does it take you to write and photograph a post?
I probably spend about an hour to an hour and a half doing the writing (which includes editing while I’m writing), and then I’ll come back to the post later on and spend about 15 minutes doing a final edit before posting. Photographing and editing the photos seem to take me forever. There have been quite a few times when the picture looks good (ie bright, clear) on my camera or phone, but looks much too dark or blurry on my computer, so I have to set everything up again and retake the photo(s). Then I spend some time editing the photos. I would say photos take me about 1-2 hours in total.

 

8) How many hours do you spend editing an average post?
Hmm, I don’t have a straightforward answer to this as I tend to edit as I write, then do an edit of the whole post as soon as it’s done being written (usually the night before it’s posted). I’ll leave it and come back to it with fresh eyes the day it’s posted, at which point I’ll do a 15-minute final reread right before posting.

 

9) Favorite types of posts to write?
Oooh, that’s difficult. I think I love writing the type of posts I love to read the most myself, which are favourites posts and reviews. I also love posting eye looks, but those are more time-consuming posts. Some of my favourite posts I’ve done are:

Review: Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector

2016 Mid-Year Favourites

My HG ‘My Lips but Better’ Lipstick

Bronze and Gold Autumn Inspired Eyes

Fall Must-Haves

 

10) Do people at your school or work know about your blog?
My coworkers don’t know about my blog, and only some of my friends do. I haven’t told anyone about my blog – it’s my fiancé who goes around telling everyone about it (yet he doesn’t read my blog himself, ahem!) All of our friends will say “oh, that’s pretty cool”, but don’t really take an interest in actually reading it. That seems to make sense, because I don’t think any of them are big into reading blogs. It works out, because I prefer that they don’t read it, anyways!

 

11) What is your process of thinking of a blog idea?
Usually I just write about whatever I happen to be thinking about or using in terms of makeup. I do get some ideas that I know I want to talk about, but don’t want to immediately do a post about. In that case, I will set up a draft with just the title of the topic and maybe a sentence or two, so that I remember to go back and write about it later.
12) Do you feel awkward filming in front of other people or in public?
I don’t photograph in public, although when I take pictures on my backyard deck, the people walking by on the street (which doesn’t happen often) and possibly my neighbours can see. I sometimes wonder if they wonder what I’m doing.

 

13) Do you and your blogging friends plan out posts together?
I have never done a collab before! The idea of it sounds super fun, although I feel like it puts a lot of pressure on me to deliver!

 

14) What is your subscriber goal by the end of the year?
Honestly, I don’t have a subscriber goal. Whatever happens, happens! I started my blog as a stress-reliever or escape from work. That, combined with my competitive nature, makes me think that having a subscriber goal would no longer make blogging fun for me because it would become a numbers game! My only goal in terms of blogging is to get better at photography – I know I’m not very good at it right now and that there is much room for improvement!

 

15) Who do you tag to do this tag next?

A lot of people I follow have already done this tag, so not tagging anyone in particular – anyone reading this should do it! I love to know what goes on behind the scenes of your blog posts 🙂

Engagement Shoot Makeup Look

I have mostly either been doing makeup posts or wedding posts, but today’s post is both of these topics combined! We just had our engagement shoot this past Sunday. Since we got engaged by the water, we wanted to reflect that and decided to do the shoot at a lake in the Rocky Mountains.

A few months ago, our wedding photographer asked us if we were okay doing the shoot at 6 in the morning on a Sunday, since apparently the period shortly after sunrise or before sunset is considered “golden hour” for photography. Without thinking, we said, “Yeah, sure, whatever makes the photos look the most flattering!” We are both morning people, but when it actually came down to it the morning of, it was a little tough. Since we had to be at the lake by 6 am and the drive out there is roughly an hour and a half, I couldn’t get my hair and makeup done that morning since no one would be available to do for me at 3:00am (lol). With hair, I needed serious help as I am completely useless with doing my own hair. I got my hair done Saturday afternoon and basically tried to not sleep on it that night.

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