Friday, January 23, 2015

9 Books to Read in 2015

“books One of my goals for 2015 is to read (at least) 12 books. I love reading and I often buy books throughout the year but I don't take the time to actually read them enough. In 2014 I added quite a few books I'm really excited about to my bookshelf and I look forward to reading them this year! I plan on reading one book a month, or more if I can! Here are 9 books I want to read at some point this year!

Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes - This is the book I'm currently reading and I'm loving it so far! It's a non fiction book written by beauty journalist Sali Hughes covering all things beauty. I've already learned so many helpful tips from what to do at a beauty counter, to all things skincare, to what foundation works best for my skin type. I'm only about a quarter of the way through the book so far but I can already tell it's a must-read for anyone into beauty or for anyone who wants to learn more about beauty!

Looking for Alaska by John Green - I have already read this book a couple of times but recently the 10th Anniversary Edition of the book came out and it has a beautiful new cover as well as 50 pages of bonus content that weren't in the original book. I really want to give this book another read and see what those extra 50 pages hold! (I believe there are some "deleted scenes" as well as a Q&A with John Green!)

Firecracker by David Iserson - I picked this book up on a whim sometime last year because the cover design caught my eye. As a graphic designer I could spend hours upon hours in book stores looking at all the different cover designs (so yes, I do judge books by their covers a lot of the time). I read the back of the book and it said it was written by one of the writers of the TV show New Girl. I really love New Girl and I really enjoy the comedy and writing of that show so I figured this would be a fun book to read!

If I Stay by Gayle Forman - I feel like everyone has read this book by now but I haven't yet! I saw the movie when it was in theatres and I really enjoyed it and wanted to know what happened next so I picked up a box set of If I Stay and the sequel, Where She Went. I really look forward to reading this to see what I think of it compared to the movie, and I look forward to seeing what the sequel brings as well!

Can't Look Away by Donna Cooner - This is a book I picked up quite recently. I picked it up off the shelf because the cover seemed interesting and once I read the summary of it, it seemed like something I would enjoy reading. This book is about a beauty vlogger whose sister passes away. It deals with how she handles the loss while in the "public" eye of her audience. It seems like an interesting read since I watch so many beauty vloggers!

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven - I got this book the same day I got Can't Look Away because there was a buy 1 get 1 50% off deal! This book is said to be "The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park" which are two of my favourite novels so I really hope I enjoy it as much as I enjoyed those two! Its summary says it's a "heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die". This book only came out in the first week of this year and apparently it's set to be a movie as well!

Landline by Rainbow Rowell - Over the past couple of years, two of my favourite books have been Eleanor and Park and Fangirl, both by Rainbow Rowell. I love the style that she writes and I can't wait to read this one. The cover is really nicely illustrated as well!

Refinery29 Style Stalking - This book is kind of more a coffee table book full of gorgeous photos of street style fashion. It goes over personal style and different trends in fashion. I really want to be more adventurous with the clothes I wear and I feel like this book will give me some great inspiration.

Grace's Guide by Grace Helbig - I've had this book since it came out sometime last year (I even went to one of Grace's book signings!) but for some reason I haven't gotten around to reading it! I've read the first couple of chapters but that's about it. For those living under a rock, Grace Helbig is a comedic YouTuber who is soon to have her own TV show on E! I've been subscribed to Grace's channel for quite some time and from what I've read of this book so far, it really captures how hilarious and down to earth she is.

Well, there is my current to-read list for the year! I really hope I get through these all and more over the next year and I'm genuinely excited to reading each and every one of them.

What books do you want to read this year? Any recommendations for me?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Liquid Lipsticks | Review + Swatches

“jeffree “jeffree Attention all bold-lip lovers! You'll want to pay attention. There's a new liquid lipstick on the scene and this one is no joke. These are the Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Liquid Lipsticks. These are the first products in the Jeffree Star Cosmetics range and I am really impressed with them. I pre-ordered mine the day they became available, on Black Friday, and got the bundle with all 3 available shades (available on the Jeffree Star Cosmetics website). The three shades currently available are I'm Royalty, Redrum, and Prom Night.

I'm Royalty is a bright royal purple with a matte finish. Redrum is a bright blue-based red. Prom Night is a borderline neon bright Barbie pink. 

The formula of these is similar to products such as the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks and the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipsticks. They apply wet looking from a tube with a doe foot applicator and set as an ultra-matte finish. These do not transfer like a typical lipstick would either. The wear time of these is great as well. I can wear these for 6+ hours without the need of a touch up! All three of the shades apply very opaque in one pass over the lips. The only down side to these for me is that application is a bit tricky since the doe foot applicator is a little flimsy. I might try to apply these with a lip brush next time to get a more precise application. But other than that this product is a total win in my books! Jeffree is currently working on expanding the shade range of these liquid lipsticks as well as adding new products to his range which I can't wait for!

Are these lipsticks something you'd try out? What are your thoughts on the super bold shades?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How to Take Better Blog Photos | 7 Helpful Tips

“better Over the past few years of blogging, I've taken hundreds or even thousands of photos for my blog. And through all of that trial and error I have picked up an idea of what works well and what doesn't. Today I thought I'd share with you some tips I've learned about how to take better blog photos! And remember, these are just tips that work for me. You may do things different than I do and if you do and you're happy with your photos then keep doing just what you're doing! I'm just sharing for those who might be curious as to how I take my blog photos!

1. Natural light is your best friend. Out of all the different lighting situations I've tried, natural light always looks the best. I've tried using regular light, and even a daylight lamp, but lights tend to have quite a harsh look in photos and cast dark shadows. I take most of my photos on my desk which is right in front of a big window. For me, the best time to take photos is between 11am and 1pm when it's nice and bright outside! I also hold a piece of white bristol board on the opposite side of my desk that the light is coming in to bounce the light onto the other side of the products I'm photographing. This bouncing technique also helps to eliminate any harsh shadows in your shot.

2. Keep it clean. When taking pictures of products (or anything, really) a nice clean background will help to keep the focus of your photos on the items your photographing, without a distracting background getting in the way. I mostly like to use a solid white backdrop. (If you don't have a white desk or table, white bristol board works great and is super inexpensive. You can just replace it when it starts to look grubby.) I also like the look of a subtly textured background such as light/white woodgrain, marble, or a soft knit or fabric. You can also try adding a small sheet of fun paper or tissue paper to add something to the background!

3. Add some flair. If you're taking pictures of 1 or 2 small items, the shot can be kind of boring if it's just the item with nothing else in the shot. I really like to add some small props or accompanying items to help fill up the shot a little more and add some interest. Some items you can add are rings, small decorative dishes, sunglasses, magazines, notebooks, small plants, a makeup bag, or any other small accessories or items that relate to the subject you're shooting in some way!

4. Avoid flash. This tip kind of goes with the first one I mentioned, but please avoid flash if at all possible. Flash creates harsh light and shadows and also reflects off of the items you're photographing. Especially if you're a beauty blogger and you're taking photos of products that often have plastic packaging, the flash will bounce right off of it. Natural light gives a much softer look to the lighting in the photo and will look much better!

5. Digital camera > phone camera. I know cell phone cameras have gotten quite good over the years, but chances are you also own a digital camera, and chances are it takes higher quality photos than your phone does. A digital camera also should have more manual settings that you can adjust to make the most of your photos! Just try it out, put your phone down next time you're taking blog photos and play around with your digital camera instead!

6. Try a different angle. This is one tip I need to take to heart a little more, but instead of shooting your products at one angle (my go-to is the birdseye view), take some photos at different angles too! Don't be afraid to try new compositions or angles for your photos because you may surprise yourself and really like what you come up with! And don't be afraid to take too many photos. Sometimes I take 50+ shots just for one or two of them to actually show up on my blog. You can always delete the ones that don't work later!

7. Edit your photos. I'm not saying everyone has to go and buy Photoshop or anything, but use the resources you have to edit your photos a little bit before posting them to your blog. I use Photoshop and occasionally Lightroom to edit my photos. If you don't have access to those programs you can use iPhoto or even a photo editing app on your phone to edit (just email your chosen photo(s) to yourself and save them to your phone. Use an app like Afterlight or VSCOcam to edit and save your pics, then email them to yourself again and save them on your computer!). Photos can always benefit from a slight brightness/contrast boost, and you can go into colour correcting, Curves, and Levels if you're more comfortable with editing.

Like I mentioned above, these are what works for me! If you have different techniques that work for you then that's great too!

Let me know below if you think you'll try out any of these tips!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Colourpop Lippie Stix | Creature + Feminist

“colourpop “colourpop “colourpop For Christmas, my friend McKenna gifted me a couple of Colourpop Lippie Stix! It seems like for the past few months Colourpop has been all over beauty blogs and YouTube channels and I've really been wanting to try out some products from the brand. Well, I've tried these two Lippie Stix in the shades Creature and Feminist and they did not disappoint! Creature is a deep red shade with a matte finish. Feminist is a blackened purple matte. As a fan of a vampy lip, both of these shades are right up my alley! These wear really well throughout the day and last around 5 hours before needing touch ups. They also remain quite comfortable on the lips considering they have a matte finish. If you get the chance to try some of the Colourpop Lippie Stix I'd highly recommend them!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

New Year, New Blog Design!

As a graphic designer, I often like to redesign my blog. I thought I'd start this year off fresh with a new blog design! My aim for this redesign was to have a cleaner looking page and larger photos so the main focus of my blog could be on the photos and posts themselves without having a distracting background. I really did enjoy my previous design but it was time for something new! I hope you all like my redesign! If you're in need of a new blog redesign, a new header, or any design assets in general, feel free to email me at laurenschroerdesign@gmail.com and we can work out a quote and make something great for your blog!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Rose Gold Eyes + Cranberry Lips | Get Ready With Me

Today I have another Get Ready With Me video to share with you all! In it I use two products I've especially been loving lately - the Lorac Pro 2 palette and the NARS Audacious lipstick in Charlotte! This is the eye look I've been wearing a lot lately, and this is one of my favourite bold lip looks. If you have any suggestions for future videos, let me know!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Lorac Pro 2 Palette | Review + Swatches

“lorac “lorac “lorac When I was in the USA this summer visiting my friend Sara, I bought the Lorac Pro palette. Since then, it has become a staple in my collection. At the time the Lorac Pro 2 had just come out and though I was tempted by it, I decided to just stick with the original. Well, to my surprise, Sara picked me up the Lorac Pro 2 palette and sent it to me for Christmas! I was honestly shocked when I opened it and was so, so excited. Over the past 5 months I had come to love the Lorac Pro palette so much and was counting on buying this one next time I went to the states (which I don't know how far away that'd be). Since getting this palette I've used it multiple times a week!

This palette is in the same format as the original Lorac Pro palette. It's encased in matte, thin, cardboard packaging and has magnetic closure. Even though it is cardboard it still feels sturdy and nice. In the palette there are 16 shadows - 8 mattes across the top row and 8 shimmers along the bottom. The original palette was full of more classic neutral shades whereas this palette consists of some more unique shades. So far with my looks with this palette I've been playing it pretty safe, but I can't wait to experiment with some of the less neutral shades (I mean, just look at that navy!). I really can't say whether I prefer the original or this one. Both have the same amazing buttery, pigmented textured shadows, and both are so great for everyday wear to more daring looks. If you're an eyeshadow lover I really don't think you can go wrong with either (or both!) of these palettes!