Sunday, 26 July 2015

Summer Wishlist

Summer Wishlist

                                             1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Yesterday was one of those days that seem to appear only once in a blue moon - a warm, cloudless day in the middle of winter with the scent of flowers in the air. There's still another 5 months to go before Sydney heats up again, but I'm already looking for the perfect companion to my summer dresses. I usually lean towards timeless, structured pieces, but a little whimsy in the fashion department never hurt anyone, right?

My classes start again tomorrow and boy, am I excited! The past month has whizzed by but I'm glad to have spent the coldest time of the year snuggled up in bed most of the time (and with no small amount of hot tea, either). I'm looking forward to starting my classes again and perhaps catching up with friends over coffee and dessert.

I've been loving the trend of wearing novelty bags. In fact, it might even inspire a DIY! What trends are you enjoying at the moment?

Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Body Shop Facial Brush Review

As much as I love my facial scrubs, it's not every week that I will have the freedom to spend some much needed time on myself. Which is where this comes in - the facial brush from The Body Shop. I stumbled across this while I was looking for a hand cream (the pure acetone we use to clean lab glassware is not very nice to hands) and the first thing I noticed was how cute it was! Seriously, this thing fits right into the palm of your hand.

The instructions tell you to pour a small amount of facial wash onto the brush and to rub gently over your face in small circular motions, 2-3 times a week. I find it spreads much easier if you lather the facial wash before you put it on the brush.

I think it's quite useful because I can use it in the shower. The bristles may feel a little stiff, but if that's the case, it's pretty simple to ease off on the pressure when using it on your skin. I use it twice a week with my cleanser, and when I'm finished I let it sit face up in its lid to dry off.

The best part of all is how much makeup it takes off! I was so surprised when my scrub turned orange the first time I used it - if that's what it looks like on the brush, how much makeup must have been left on my face?!

Overall, I really like this tool. The fact that it only cost me $5.95 (whereas similar products may cost upwards of twice that amount) doesn't hurt either... it's become a part of my weekly routine, and I'm pleasantly surprised by how much smoother my face feels.


- Packaging: It came without any packaging other than its tag - no unnecessary plastic! I also love the clear handle and lid.
- Effectiveness: Very effective. It cleaned off all the makeup I never knew I had on my face.
- Softness: Kind of stiff (though the ends are very soft themselves). I'd say go easy on the pressure.
- Convenience: Extremely convenient! It's small enough to take with you on trips or place in your makeup bag.
- Cost: Super affordable. I got it for $5.95.

Would I buy it again? Definitely!

Monday, 20 July 2015

Kiwi fruit, Apple and Banana Smoothie

Kiwi fruit, Apple and Banana Smoothie

Sometimes you wake up and just wanna chug something down and go. I usually have my cereal in the morning, but today I was feeling a little fruity. Luckily, smoothies are one of the easiest things to make (you literally put things into the blender and press a button and have all the work done for you!) so I combined some of my favourite fruits into one delicious drink.

Ingredients (serves 2):
- 2 kiwi fruit
- 1 apple
- 1/2 banana
- 1/2 cup spinach
- 1/2 cup of oatmeal
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 tsp of honey (optional)

Dice the fruit into large pieces and blend the ingredients for about 2 min. Perfect for a morning when you're bursting to get on with your day!

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Blogging Without A Camera

Blogging Without A Camera

Okay, the title of this post isn't 100% accurate - obviously, I have pictures on my blog, and therefore I must have a camera, right? Well, yes: I take all of my photos using my Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S phone. Why? Because I don't have an actual camera.

To be a blogger, it might seem like owning a DSLR or a point-and-shoot is an absolute must in order to get those crisp, perfectly focused images. And to some extent, that's true: if you own a successful blog, it would simply be embarrassing if your pictures were anything less than professional.

But when you're just starting to dip your toe into the blogging world, you may find yourself in a situation where you can't afford to buy a camera that would give you blog-worthy photos. Sometimes there are other things that take precedence - for example, that engine checkup you've been putting off for the last two months. It's a disheartening topic to think about, because it's difficult to have a blog people will want to keep coming back to when you have to hold yourself up to the same standards of someone who owns a thousand dollar camera.

Blogging Without A Camera

One word of advice: save up for a good camera.

Any good blog must have a good camera. But if you go back all the way in the archives of most blogs, you'll find that in their early days, a lot of big name bloggers didn't have expensive cameras at their disposal. They started out using whatever they had, and often, that was whatever camera they had lying around.

Personally, I'm at that stage where I'm ready to move on to something better (I've been eyeing the Canon EOS 100D for a while now). I've been using my phone since 2012 - that's three years, and at the rate new phones and tablets are being released nowadays, it's positively ancient. If you look through my posts, you'll notice that some of my photos are blurrier than others: that's because it's very hard to manually control my phone's camera focus while I'm taking photos of my work. Often I won't even be able to tell it's blurry until the photo is blown up on my laptop's screen, and by then it's too late because I didn't have any more pictures of that particular step.

Blogging Without A Camera

But there are things you can do to make sure your photos turn out in the best way possible. I know I'm not the best photographer out there, and I still have a lot to learn, but I love tinkering around with any camera I get my hands on and I've learnt a lot about photography that way. I'm writing this blog post mainly because when I first started out, I couldn't find anything about blogging without a camera. It felt kind of... lonely, and that put me off starting a blog for a long time. But now I know there's no hard and fast rule to blogging - you just need to make your content interesting, and let your photos tell a story. To all those beginner bloggers out there, don't give up! You don't need an expensive camera to write a blog. So here are some tips on photographing I wish someone had told me when I first started.

Blogging Without A Camera

1. This is probably a given, but know your camera inside out. You should know how to adjust the focus, the ISO, the exposure, etc. and if you don't, Google it! Sometimes, I find that changing the exposure before I take a photo makes a massive difference to the quality of my pictures because my phone tends to overexpose.

2. Take advantage of lenses, such as these that attach to your phone by olloclip. They run around $100 but they're certainly more affordable than a DSLR camera. On the other hand, if you're looking for something that won't make a dent in your pocket, try using a magnifying glass in front of your camera for macro shots - they work amazingly well!

3. Edit your photos. If you want to upload photos onto your blog, you must edit your photos! Seriously, the difference between a raw photo and an edited version is like comparing a lump of clay with a sculpture. Most professionals use Photoshop, but I don't have that so I like to use the website Photogramio. I also find Gimpshop to be a great free and open-source alternative to Photoshop with pretty much all of the same functions (the only disadvantage here is that you need to download it). When I edit my photos, I usually adjust the brightness and contrast, curves, spot heal, and perhaps change the tone of the photo to become more red or blue, depending on the look I'm going for. Once again, there are plenty of tutorials online on how to adjust your photos just a Google away.

4. Use the rule of thirds as a guide when taking your photos. If you divide the image into a 3x3 grid, your object of interest should lie in one of the intersections of the lines. This will give your photo more dimension than simply having the subject smack bang in the centre of the picture.

5. One further point - and a very important one - is to make sure your horizon is flat!! It irks me so much when I see a photo that is gorgeous in every way, but the photographer has neglected to straighten up the horizon and now it lies slightly off kilter. If you keep your head straight and look to the horizon, no matter where you're standing, you'll see that the horizon is always a flat line running from left to right. If you don't have a horizon in your photo, use other lines as guidance - the vertical edge of your bookshelf, the edge of your table, the stripes of your floorboards, etc. Try to pick out the lines with your eye as you are taking the photo, and have them line up parallel with the left/right or top/bottom sides. If you look at a magazine spread, you'll find that the horizon or the edge where the wall meets the floor is always parallel to the top and bottom edges of the photo.

And there! Those are the most important tips I can think of for beginner bloggers. As long as you have some way of taking photos (even a webcam will do), you're ready to blog. Don't worry about the fact that the resolution of your pictures aren't that great, or that you can't get it to focus correctly - the point of your blog having photos is to complement your content! Make up for it with your stellar writing or creativity, and most important of all, have fun while doing it!

Blogging Without A Camera

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

DIY Wallet Revamp

I've had the same red wallet for four years. It's not particularly attractive and smells like glue on the inside, but so far it's done the job. But when I saw this brown glitter clutch wallet on sale for $5, I snapped it up right away because it was the perfect piece for a DIY. The geometric trend has been hugely popular lately, and this is a great way to introduce some clean, simple lines to your wardrobe without overdoing it.

What you'll need:

  • Two nail polish colours 
  • Wallet
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive contact paper or tape

1. Cut a long, straight strip of contact paper or tape. If you're afraid of damaging the wallet, stick it on your skin a few times to remove some stickiness before using it. 

2. Place the adhesive so its left edge cuts the top of the wallet at 3/4 and the bottom at 1/2 of its length. Start painting the larger area in thin layers and let it dry completely before painting the next layer.

3. Let the paint dry before moving on to the other side - this may take a few days. Repeat step 2 with the other colour, except this time have the right edge of the adhesive sitting at the 3/4 and 1/2 mark.

The wallet is usable straight after it has dried - it might smell a bit for a week or two, but once the smell dissipates, the nail polish will feel nice and smooth and won't crack at all. I can't wait to get some use out of this!

This may be my favourite DIY to date. What do you think?

Monday, 13 July 2015

DIY Chain Bracelet

Somewhere at the bottom of my box of spare parts lies a jumble of broken necklaces and bracelets. Their glory days may have passed, but that doesn't mean they won't be useful! This DIY is an easy way to update your look with a little bit of edginess - and who doesn't love a bit of chain in their outfit? Let's get started!

What you'll need:

- Broken chain necklaces/bracelets
- Jump rings
- A large curb chain bracelet or similar
- Pliers (optional)

1. Attach your thickest chain to the clasp of the curb chain bracelet.

2. Connect the other end to the other clasp, and connect in the middle as well. This will form the scaffold for the other chains.

3. Attach your next chains, making sure they are thin enough to fit through the links of the curb chain. 

4. Start weaving your smaller chains around and through the bracelet in random directions. Make sure to wrap them around your first chain to secure it to the bracelet. Attach them to the other end with another jump ring.

5. Add in any smaller chains, weaving over the top and bottom for an even look. You can even leave the ends to dangle. If any parts are loose, secure using jump rings through the chain links.

Your bracelet is finished! I've been wearing this everywhere - I stack it with a couple of other bracelets. Don't you love it when you turn something broken into something new and even better?