$1 Makeup Haul / Miss A

Sometimes not all of us have a huge budget to spend on makeup and accessories, which is why I’m so happy that I found this online store! It’s called Miss A and they sell tons of beauty things for just $1 each, including e.l.f. makeup. Obviously, when I came across it, I had to stock up on some goodies. Here is what I grabbed. I hope you like this video, I’m trying something new and fun 🙂

Click here to watch, or view below:




Have a great weekend!

Staying Productive With Backup Blog Posts

When people ask me how I post so frequently, all I can tell them is this: backup posts save my ass. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been trying to get better at scheduling and planning posts, and for the most part it has been working great, but there are still those days that I get totally thrown off. My planned posting days get pushed back for unforeseen reasons and soon I’m left scrambling to put something together on the day I had wanted it to be published.

Yesterday for instance… I had plans to film a new Blog Beautician video and write a new post for this blog. My day instead consisted of battling with my Mac, apps, wifi, and spending hours on ridiculous things that had nothing to do with being productive and nothing that I had wanted to even get involved with. Planning doesn’t always work, so that is where backup posts come in.

I started doing this a couple of months ago. Whenever I felt the urge to just write, I would write. I’m sure you’ve noticed that my posts recently have been more personal or tell more of a story. That’s because I’ve been doing things a little differently, and it’s been working really well so I wanted to share my strategy.

My personal ideal time to write from my heart is when I’m sitting in peace with my thoughts. That doesn’t usually happen if I’m scrambling around looking for a blog topic idea like a unique new hair tutorial, a DIY, or a total step by step guide on how to start a business. Those things take more planning and time than just writing from my head… and sometimes, I just don’t have that kind of time.

So, I’ve started collecting bits of writing and compiling them into blog posts as drafts for days (like today) when I am utterly unprepared and don’t have the energy to scramble. I save them and review them again when I’m having one of those “off” days where my planned post doesn’t work out. An arsenal of blog posts, I suppose! This method has been helping me stay productive so that I can forget about stressing over a topic and instead just pick one and hit publish.

It’s something you can do too. Think about your ideal time to write, and just write. Don’t worry so much about creating the “perfect” blog post or a cool new tutorial. Just write. Once I start writing, I’ll sometimes be able to pump out a few entries at once that can be saved for rainy days. I’ve found that posts like these make it easier for my readers to connect with me as well. Sharing what’s on your mind can go a long way and adds a more personal touch to your blog. Save your writings as backups, and plan your more time consuming posts in the meantime.

Try it, and let me know how it goes!

Ipsy Review & My First Bag

I’ve signed up for a few beauty subscription box services in the past but ended up cancelling after a few months because I found myself with more samples of products than I could handle. You know when your bathroom drawer just spews out little packets of things when you open it? Yeah, that is a sign that your sample hoarding is getting out of control!

Last month, however, I decided to jump onto the Ipsy train and give it a shot. Items are apparently curated by Michelle Phan and a few other popular beauty YouTube gurus. It was cheaper than most other subscriptions (that ship to Canada) and I have a couple of friends who are always excited about getting their bags each month. So, I signed up for $10 a month and waited for my first bag.

When you sign up, you fill out a complete beauty profile to help tailor the products to your own preferences. I’m not sure how well they stick with this when picking out your bag contents, but future months will tell I suppose. They will also put you on a “wait list” when you sign up, but you can jump to the front of it if you share Ipsy with 10 Facebook friends. This was kind of annoying, but good marketing on their part. In fact, pretty much everything on their site is connected to Facebook, so if you don’t want to share your purchases you have to be sure to deselect the “share to Facebook” link if you decide to visit your account.

When the bag arrived this month, I was excited to see what was inside. I think I was expecting more from the packaging, considering the other beauty subscription boxes I had tried in the past went all out with their packaging and cute little boxes, but I guess that’s why they’re able to make the bags cheaper. Honestly, I don’t mind the lack of a box because all they do is take up more space. Instead, all of the products came in a little vinyl-like makeup bag wrapped in a hot pink bubble mailer.

The products I received were:

Coastal Scents Liquid Eyeliner – I was happy to see this because it’s a decent size for a liquid liner and Coastal Scents is a brand I’ve definitely used before. It’s got a felt tip pen and appears to glide on well. You can take 25% off this liner with code LINER25OFF on their site.

Hey Honey Take It Off Exfoliating Honey Mask – I’m weird about trying new skin products, but this looks interesting. It doesn’t come with any instructions or ingredients, but after looking it up it is suppose to be a smoothing and brightening mask with Alpha Hydroxy Acids and honey extract. I will give it a try!

La Fresh Eco-Beauty Good Day Moisturizer – This says to have anti-aging properties and is great for moisturizing sensitive skin. Again, not too confident about new skin products, but I will give it a try as well. You can take 30% off any purchase at La Fresh with code IPSYJAN15.

Pacifica Natural Mineral Coconut Eyeshadow – The colour is Ethereal and is a shimmery nude colour. It’s not very pigmented at all and would probably best be used as a subtle highlight. Although it’s 100% vegan, cruelty-free and formulated without parabens and petroleum, I don’t think I’d buy eyeshadow from this brand again simply for the lack of pigment and cheap texture.

Velvet 59 Velvet Rose Lip Gloss – I haven’t heard of this brand before, and am not really a fan of lip glosses, but the colour is nice. It’s a light rose pink and the applicator is an actual brush instead of a sponge. It does feel a little sticky and I’m not sure I’d wear it but it is always nice to be introduced to a new brand.

Overall, I’d rate this month’s bag a 3/5. I like the variety of products and will be trying most of them out, I’m just not sure they are things I would actually use and come to love. I’m going to continue trying the Ipsy bag for a couple more months to see how it goes. If you’d like an update next month, do let me know below!

If you’re interested in trying an Ipsy bag for yourself, you can sign up here. It’s cheap and you can cancel at any time.

Do you subscribe to any beauty boxes or Ipsy? What are your thoughts?

The Tale of a Big Nosed Girl

There was once a time that I was ashamed of my nose. That poor fully functioning body part had no chance of ever gaining my love. I thought of it as a reject… something that didn’t belong on my body. It taunted me every day, and every day I wondered why I was cursed with such a monstrosity — smack dab in the center of my face.

As a pre-teen I would look through magazines and be unable to spot one single nose that looked like mine. It’s because it was hideous, it had to be. Nobody wanted one in their magazines. I began cutting out the noses of models and taping them to photos of myself to see how I might look with a “regular” nose. It was then that I decided that when I was old enough, I would get a nose job and get rid of this beast for good.

Years of complaining about my unlucky facial feature soon brought my confidence way down. I tried to convince myself that my high school friends maybe didn’t notice it. It was like I was constantly aware of it… of every angle I placed my head to make it appear more “normal”. I felt like if I could keep fooling people by never showing them my profile, maybe they would never know. That’s what I told myself at least. Until that one day when something I heard through the grapevine left me feeling totally exposed and silly for ever thinking I could keep up this game. One of my very best friends had said to another, “she’s pretty, but she has a big nose”.

Dead. I wanted to crawl into a cave and never let my face see light again. ‘That’s it’, I thought, ‘I’m getting a nose job’.

I went home and did all of the research. I looked at disgusting photos of a rhinoplasty that made me feel light headed and after all I had learned, I was terrified. Was this actually something I could do? I mean, I’ve always been anxious about medical stuff and this was huge. Maybe I’ll just be stuck with this damn thing forever. I decided to talk to my mom about it some more.

My mom has the same nose as me. My grandmother had the same, and probably generations of others. She told me that she had also wanted a nose job when she was younger as well but, just like me, after she found out what they do, she decided against it. I started to think that this was never something I could physically put myself through and tried to change my perception of my nose instead.

It wasn’t until my early 20’s that I became okay with the idea of it sticking around forever. I tried to see it as a unique part of myself. One that I only share with my family members… a “big nose club” if you will! It’s something that separates me from all of those perfectly shaped magazine models and helps identify myself. As I grew older, I just started becoming okay with it and really thinking about what a “perfect” nose means anyways.

Why does perfect always have to mean petite, cute, or fit into some type of norm that’s been fed to us by society and media? Everyone wants us to change ourselves to fit into this idea of being something other than how we were born. How can something even be considered “perfect” if we all have to change ourselves to meet its requirements? Perfect should not mean manipulated or altered. That takes away the entire meaning of perfect. Who was the first person to tell us what is the most desirable, or what the best characteristics are to have? WHO DECIDES THAT?!

We do. Because that image of “perfect” is in our own minds. It doesn’t actually exist because there is nothing to compare it to. That girl that you think is perfect in every way sees many imperfections in herself. What one person sees as perfect, another may not. How can it still be perfect if that’s the case?

Fast forward to the present day. I am blogging and started a YouTube channel. In my wildest dreams, I never imagined I would receive comments from readers or viewers stating how they “love my nose” or they “wish they had my nose” which were words that at one point were so alien to me. On the contrary, there are still those that don’t hold back in telling me how I should wear my makeup to make my nose look smaller… I suppose to help me fit back into that idea of the norm?

I no longer care about this wonky nose of mine and although I don’t love it, I’ve accepted it as a part of who I am. It doesn’t bother me anymore because I won’t let it and there is no point. Love it or hate it, I am just being me, and being yourself is the most perfect you can be.

Please note: I have nothing against those that have undergone or are planning to undergo plastic surgery to change their appearance. This is my own story and why I decided against it. In the end, do what you think will make you the happiest and most confident, but do make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.

Reimagining Your Instagram Profile

It’s no secret that I love me some Instagram. I’m on that site probably more than any other social network site, either scrolling, looking for new people to follow, or posting my own photos to my collection. I cannot seem to put the app down until I have successfully scrolled through every new photo that I missed while sleeping/eating/working/living an actual life (I can’t be the only one, right?).

I made a decision a couple of weeks ago that I would “upgrade” my Instagram content and try to make it a warm, cozy place that others might want to step foot into. My mind is naturally very scattered with ideas and I was beginning to see that with my previous shared shots. I didn’t want a scatterbrained space anymore… I wanted a clean, inviting one that makes you just want to grab a cup of coffee and stay a while.

See how images can do that to us? I know immediately when I am attracted to someone’s feed and when I am not. Beautiful images and styling really speaks to me and screams creativity without having to say a damn thing. To be able to put your thoughts into photo form instead of just snapping a photo of yourself and calling it a day seems to be how a lot of popular InstaPhotographers have found success.

So I thought about what my favourite types of photos to look at were and what they had in common and decided to start creating my feed like that. If you hop on over to the @wonderforest Instagram now, you will see that everything is calm and simple and mostly white. I love it. It’s a reflection of my clear mind and even puts me in that state of mind when browsing through my own snaps.

Shortly after making the change, I noticed an increase in followers and comments along the lines of “your feed is so pretty!”. Thanks, that’s what I was going for! *wink*

So with that, although I’m not a pro Instagrammer like some others, here are a few tips if you’re thinking about giving your own profile a creative overhaul to attract more visitors:

Come up with a theme and stick with it – You don’t have to copy anyone, just use your own imagination here. Only you know what types of photos you like best, and which ones seem to get the most traction. Maybe you love colourful and bright photos, or maybe only black and white photos. Maybe you post drawings, or photos of lovely landscapes. Maybe you like styling posts or taking close ups of objects. Whatever it is, post more of it and stick with it. This doesn’t mean creating the same photo again and again, it just means using that basic idea to inspire your next photo.

Your photo formula – Once you have a theme in mind, you can think of it as your own unique formula for creating photos. How will you post them? Will you edit them first? On your computer or using an app? Find the formula that works for you and that can easily and quickly be adapted to your future photos. For example, I use VSCOcam to edit my photos, and also make a few little adjustments as I’m posting it right in the Instagram app. My edits usually relate to brightness or saturation. Your formula should help your photos appear as if they are part of a set. Like they belong together.

Try not to break the chain – Breaking the chain of related photos using your formula is sometimes difficult. I know there have been times when I’ve wanted to post something really cool but had to stop myself because I know it would have broken the whole theme of “white” and “calm” photos I’ve worked hard on putting in my gallery.  You don’t have to post every single photo you take, just the ones that are superb… so try to at least make those ones match the rest.

Build up your gallery – Obviously to get a whole new look happening, you’ll need to post a lot of photos styled in the way you want. Start taking and editing them, but don’t post them all at once (that would be annoying for your followers). Post 2-3 new ones over the course of a day and soon you’ll see your gallery start to build up and change.

Like other photos with themes you love – Searching hashtags for similar topics that somewhat relate to your photos can land you on some awesome profiles that you never knew existed. Get that tapping finger ready and start “liking” all of the ones you love. You’ll start to notice others taking notice of your own profile as well and will hopefully gain some new followers from the experience.

I hope that some of my tips work for you if you’re trying to reimagine your own Instagram account! I’d also love if you followed along on my new “photo makeover” journey at @wonderforest on Instagram!

Essentials Every Blogger Should Have

There are a number of tools that I use pretty much on a daily basis, and I don’t think that I would be able to run this blog efficiently without them. Here are the things that I just couldn’t live without that have streamlined my blogging process over the years:

Notebooks – I go through these like mad. I keep a selection of lined notebooks handy and always available at my desk for jotting down quick notes and ideas. I also keep an unlined notebook for my more creative ideas that I need to sketch out, self-named “The Idea Book”.  Tip: find one that looks cute so you can keep it closed on your desk without it being an eyesore.

A daily planner – I only started using a daily planner a few months ago, but it has helped tremendously with my blogging and scheduling of daily tasks that I don’t know how I lived without one before. Tip: try to find one that has a decent amount of space to write. The one I use has a monthly calendar view as well as large daily and weekly sections.

A camera – Obviously I need my camera. I use the Canon 600D, otherwise known as the T3i with a variety of lenses. The 28mm is my favourite and works very well for most of my blog photos. Tip: a camera with a flip out rotating screen is a huge benefit!

Backup battery – There have been countless times that I’ve been right in the middle of shooting something and BAM, my battery dies. I always make sure to have a second backup battery charged and ready to go. Tip: look for one to match your camera model on eBay. There are cheaper alternatives that work the same as the original.

Tripod and remote – I use these pretty much daily, even for simple styled shots so that I can take quicker photos without worrying about shaky hands or my photos accidentally being out of focus. Tip: you can get a remote that works with most DSLRs on eBay for around $5. Also, find a tripod that allows you to tilt the camera (most should).

An external hard drive – I’m paranoid of my computer crashing and losing all of my hard work, so my external drive is like one of my prized possessions. I’m pretty sure it would be one of the things I would grab if (knock on wood) my house caught on fire. I have a program called iRep that is set to automatically create a backup of any file I create as I save it, so I don’t have to worry about copying files over or doing any syncs. You can find similar auto-syncing programs online. Tip: storage space of 500GB and over should do you just fine.

Lighting – I’ve talked about my whole camera setup and lighting before, but it has seriously changed how I take photos and I couldn’t go back to not using lighting! My ring light goes with me everywhere and was a great investment. Tip: if you buy lighting online, it doesn’t always come with a stand, so keep that in mind because you’ll need one!

Adobe Photoshop – Taking a photo is one thing, but the magic happens when you edit it. I always brighten up my photos and make small adjustments in Photoshop before it goes up on my blog. Adding graphic elements and text is all done here too. Tip: don’t skimp on your photo editing program. Photoshop is affordable now with a monthly Adobe Creative Cloud plan.

What are some of your blogging essentials?

Ways To Make Money With Your Blog

Blogging has come a long way in recent years. It’s become a pretty viable way to make some extra cash or even turn your hobby into a full time job. Although I don’t think that you should start a blog with intentions of simply making money, there comes a point when you might start thinking about monetizing.

There are various ways to monetize your blog and grow it into a business of its own. I wanted to share a few different methods and things that I’ve personally done to branch my blog out into a business.

Click here to watch the video, or view it below (remember to subscribe for more!):



Ways to make money from your blog:

 

Selling advertising – I highly suggest waiting to sell advertising until you have a steady flow of traffic. Without that, you really can’t benefit any advertisers. They are essentially buying an ad in hopes of gaining some of your traffic, so you need to make sure that you can fulfill this wish for them.

Adsense ads – Adsense or Pay Per Click ads are an easy way to start monetizing your blog. Although the earnings vary day by day and you can never really be sure of how much you will make, if you have the traffic it can be a nice way to make some extra cash. Adsense is integrated with Blogger, however if you have a WordPress.com blog, you’ll want to upgrade to your own self hosted WordPress as the free version does not allow advertising.

Premium ad networks – These are ad networks that you apply to that have more of a premium service. They will look at your stats and numbers to decide if you’re a good fit. They often serve ads from well known brands and offer opportunities to work with these brands through sponsorship campaigns, which you are also paid for.

Affiliate links – You make commissions from any sales you generate from your own unique link. You can have a lot of success with affiliate links if they are a brand or company that really meshes well with your blog’s content and audience. This is more like a partnership than a “get rich quick” scheme and you have to believe in what you are promoting (and do it often) to see much traction.

Offer products or services – Branching out into more of a business is a pretty lucrative way of earning income from your blog. It’s more long term and allows you to get creative. If you’ve worked at becoming known for something, I think you’ll have more success than just coming out with a random product or service. Use your skills and come up with some ideas that could help you earn a little extra income…. but make sure the idea meshes well with your blog. For example, you could offer an e-book full of interior design tips if your blog is known for having awesome home decor posts.

Be sure to watch the video for more tips and greater explanations of these options.

Links mentioned in the video:

 

Create a WordPress blog in 5 minutes
How to migrate from Blogger to WordPress
Make money from your blog
365 Blog Topic Ideas

Pretty in Pastels

Hey my lovely Forest friends! I wanted to share a few of my recent favourites from Shopbop today, and as I was saving things to my wishlist, I noticed something: they were all pastels! Maybe it’s the fact that I just finished playing around with Valentine’s Day colours for my new case designs, but I’ve been noticing a lot of pinks popping up lately and I have to say I love the shade! I think it’s so cute paired with ivory or gold, what do you think? Here are the details for my selections:

1. Free People Drop Lace Trapeze Dress
2. Kate Spade Novelty Metro Watch
3. Rebecca Minkoff Large Moto Satchel
4. Sam Edelman Lynn Espadrilles
5. Marc by Marc Jacobs New Q Wingman Wristlet
6. Halston Heritage Colorblock Caftan Dress
7. Lelet NY Kat Swarovski Crystal Headband
8. DKNY Sandy Canvas Wedge Sneakers

I teamed up with Shopbop for this post. All selections of items are my own 🙂

Tech Tuesday: New Case Designs Released!!!

Yay! I’m so excited to show you some of the new mobile case designs I’ve been working on lately. This time around, I worked with lots of pinks for Valentine’s day and created a wide assortment of sweet little illustrations. As always, my cases are made with my hand painted graphics and available for a variety of devices (not just Apple products!).  Here is a little look into the process this time around and the full new collection that you can purchase now at Casetify!

Some of the designs are also available in Casetify’s awesome clear cases, which lets your device shine through! You can take $10 off your first order with code X469YF.

Tip: If you grab any Bezel Bold style iPhone case, you can swap out the back plate at any time with a new design by simply purchasing the Hard Back Plate next time…. it makes changing your case cheaper and more versatile!

And of course a few others are also available for iPad devices:

Shop the full collection here

 Remember, you can take $10 off your first order with code X469YF.

I hope you like these ones! Which one is your favourite? Also be sure to follow along on Instagram, where I post photos of the process and even ask for your ideas for new designs!

How To Make a No-Sew Round Braided Rug With T-Shirts!


“What in the world can I do with all of these old t-shirts?” — A thought I have had recently as I’ve been clearing out boxes and boxes of old clothes. I wanted to recycle them somehow because they weren’t all suitable for charity and I’m sentimental about clothing sometimes which makes it hard to just throw them out! A braided rug seemed like an awesome idea and one that could actually give new life to the worn out old shirts.

I took on this project over the weekend, and while it does take a long time, I’m so happy with the result! I decided to grab a bunch of blue-toned shirts and some neutrals so my rug had some sort of a colour scheme. You can totally just make an eclectic version with every colour of the rainbow too, so don’t worry about your shirts all matching.

I used a total of fifteen different sized t-shirts (both mine and Dustin’s) for a rug approximately 30″ in size. If you want to make one too, here is how to do it:

You will need:

  • A variety of jersey t-shirts and/or tank tops
  • Scissors
  • Rotary cutter (optional)

Step 1 – Cut your t-shirts into 1.5″ strips along the width of the body. This goes much quicker if you have a rotary cutter. You’ll want to cut the end of each of them so they’re strands and not loops of fabric.

Step 2 – Gather three strips and stack them. Tie a knot tightly into the top to begin.
Step 3 – Start braiding the strips.

Step 4 – Once you’ve braided about 4″ of the strips, coil the braid into a circle as shown above, with the knot in the center.

Step 5 – Take the strand closest to the center and pass it under and through one of the loops in the braid you coiled. This is how you will attach the braid to the coil.

Step 6 – Continue your braid another few inches. It should be attached to the center coil where you passed the one strand through.

Step 7 – Every few inches, pass the strand closest to the center under and through the existing braid to attach it. You’ll do this continuously to create the entire rug! Braid and attach, braid and attach.

To add strips:

When you reach the end of the strip, you’ll want to attach another. Instead of making a bunch of knots, here is how you can quickly attach the next strand:

Step 1 – Fold over the very end of the attached strand and cut a small slit into the center. Do the same with your new strand.

Step 2 – Line up the two slits you cut on both strands as shown in photo 2.

Step 3 – Take the other end of the new strand and pull it through the back of the slits towards the front.

Step 4 – Pull both strands tightly and they will be linked together.

The rug will tend to bunch up as you go along. To flatten it, spritz it with a spray water bottle and use your hands to push it back into shape. You can place some heavy objects on it to hold it down while you braid if you need to.

I wanted to finish the backing of the rug so it stays in place, so I plan on ironing on some fusible interfacing to the reverse side. You can also finish it with starch or Polycrylic spray as a protective measure.


How easy was that? Enjoy your new upcycled rug!