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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

BLOG UNDER CONSTRUCTION

I have been running into issues with posting (and my creative juices are just not flowing at all). I hope to begin posting lots of quality content with the brands I am working with beginning in May 2017. Thanks for your patience, and if you want to see current active content, check out my Instagram and Tumblr both emilylavenders :)
Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Current Skincare Routine 2017



Since my last skincare routine was over two years ago (and now gone forever since a glitch deleted most of my old posts) I thought I'd share an updated one! I've been able to collaborate with a few of my favourite skincare brands over the past year and it's really opened my eyes to the importance of a healthy routine. I am not being paid to review these products, I just received them and fell in love with how they've changed my skin for the better. For reference my skin type is normal-oily with dry patches. Below I will list the products in the order I use them and when I use them because there's no way I put 14 products on my face at once!

Wash
Kiehl's Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash - I use this with a Clarisonic Mia face brush, it gets rid of all my makeup and leaves my skin totally clean. I thought I would need a harsh cleanser but this is so gentle yet somehow clears my pores entirely and removes every product I have on. 

Tone
Clinique Clarifying Lotion for Combination/Oily Skin - This toner readies my skin for the oils and moisturizers I'll use next. It's very fresh, doesn't burn (sometime toners can do that!), and leaves my skin very smooth. I find it essential to getting rid of my final few bits of makeup and fake tan,

Serum/Facial Oil
Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate - I use this product in the mornings. If there was one part of my skincare routine I wouldn't give up it's this step. Serums and oils are packed with nutrients to keep your skin glowing. It doesn't make your skin oily but gives you a fresh faced and full look to your skin. Perfect for wearing under foundations.

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate - I use this product before bed. It's nice when you really know a product is working for your skin. I notice a difference when I forget to apply this at night. It brings my skin back to life after a day of dirt, makeup, and climate wear. My skin looks fresh in the morning and with long term use it's given my skin a healthier appearance. 

Eyes
Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream - I use this product in the mornings. I only just started using eye creams (sadly) but I've already noticed a difference in the skin texture and appearance. I was just using my regular moisturizer around my eyes but your skin is so delicate there it's importance to use something more specialized. This specific moisturizer helps my eyes look open and less tired.

Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment - I use this product at night, though it's meant for any time use. It's a bit thicker and doesn't sit well with my concealer so I just use it before bed. I find it smooths the skin and helps with tough dryness I get around that area. 

Moisturizers
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream - I'll keep my rambling about moisturizer short - we all know what it does. I only use this specific one when my skin is very dry or in very dry patches. It's extremely hydrating and really helps my skin in the winter. One of the best heavy moisturizers I've tried.

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream - I use this at night when my skin is oily or normal. It's super light and absorbs into the skin well. I love it's oil-free texture. It's important to still moisturize even if you have oily or normal skin! This is a perfect product for that.

Origin's GinZing Energy Boosting Moisturizer - I use this product in the morning. It sits great under my makeup but more specifically I find it does wake me up and make my look more alive (when I'd much rather be sleeping). This product could easily be replaced by the last one but I love it's energizing effects too much!

Mask
Origins Maskimizer - I use this before any mask I put on. You spritz it on your skin and it primes your face to absorb what the mask you're about to use it for. I really think this adds a lot to the use of a mask and feels refreshing to spray on after washing your face in preparation. 

Origins By All Greens Face Mask - This is a very deep cleaning mask that you use like a face wash as you rub it in and then leave it to dry. It's very refreshing with green tea and spinach. I use this when my skin has been abused by too much makeup.

Lush Oatfix Face Mask - I love all Lush's face masks, something about them being made out of fresh product is super appealing. This is my favourite because it smells amazing and it nice to calm my dry skin down.

Kiehl's Turmeric and Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque - In the pictures I am showing you a small size, this usually comes in a much bigger jar. It's my most used face mask and I love using it before going out. It really brightens and tightens your skin.

Pores
Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips - I get blackheads on my nose and chin so I use one of these once every few weeks. It's inexpensive and does the job great! I wouldn't bother buying anything more high end because they really all do the same thing.

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Thursday, 5 January 2017

Lessons I Learned When Building a Social Media Presence + Instagram Tips!


From my short few years building an online presence I have learned a few tips and lessons I wish someone had told me from the start. This past year I have got to work with over 30 incredible brands, got to travel to California with my favourite clothing store, attended blogger events and openings, but most importantly I gained confidence and happiness by sharing my thoughts and photos with readers. I know some of you are probably thinking I am going beyond my britches offering advice when I myself am not insanely successful on my online endeavours... but I have gotten to a place where I feel like at least I am being heard somewhat, that’s why someone runs an Instagram or blog isn’t it? May you agree or not, below I will discuss (in a bit of a messy format) what worked for me as someone who wanted to share my love of beauty and fashion with others.

You have to start somewhere. Everyone has to start somewhere, even the big “beauty gurus” that are raking in millions started with no followers. An example I like to use is when I was young and first began blogging, a blog called “schoee.blogspot.com” and I followed each other. She only had a few hundred more readers than me and we posted the same sort of content. I gave up blogging after being discouraged that no one was reading my content. I came to find out a few years later that the other blogger was Zoe Sugg, who now runs the Zoella online empire that I am sure you’ve all heard of. Moral of the story is keep going and sharing what you’re passionate about even if you feel like you’re not being heard, just like she did. If you want to begin blogging I suggest using blogspot.com, it’s very easy to use and free.

Make a name and stick with it. If you want to build an online presence I found it was important to use one name on all social media platforms and to leave out any numbers/characters if possible. Something catchy or maybe just your own name. You want people to remember it and it’s how you’ll be recognized. I don’t think I have the best name but people seem to remember it and the name was available for me to own on Instagram and .com domain. Consider making a twitter, snapchat, blog, Instagram, pinterest, email, WHATEVER you want to utilize.

It’s ok to not let real life friends know. When I first became committed to instagramming and blogging I was really embarrassed for people I knew in real life to see what I was doing. I felt like they’d make fun of my thoughts and photos or think I was being full of myself for trying to build up my platforms. I made separate accounts from my personal ones (and even went as far to block everyone I could possibly think of from them) and carried on that way. Younger me felt this way out of fear of being made fun of but now that I am older I realize no one is going to make fun of me (or even care hah). If you're too worried people will bully you don't let them hold you back from doing something you enjoy.

Connect with the city you live in (if you’re comfortable with that). For over a year of running my blog and Instagram I didn’t disclose where I was from. As soon as I did I was contacted by my local mall to write a feature for them. Engage with local brands, restaurants, and services (tagging them in photos, writing reviews, etc). People enjoy following others who live where they do because you’re more relatable and can show them new things to do and see around their home. Even just letting readers know I was from Canada helped both new Canadian readers and brands engage me.

Take advantage of everything that comes your way. If you’ve been working at it a while brands or events may begin to contact you. It’s very exciting when this starts to happen (and I guarantee with hard work this will happen… if you’re PASSIONATE about what you’re doing and not just trying to get free stuff). Collab with as many as possible and go to every event you can. When I began getting contacted by local brands/store openings I turned down quite a few because I was too nervous and shy. Honestly, I still turn down invites because I am too nervous to interact with new people without a friend with me (ugh don’t get me started on some of the  amazing stuff I have chickened out on). I believe the best way to build up connections and platforms is grab whatever comes your way and enjoy the ride, so hopefully you’ll be better at this than me!

Instagram tips that have helped me:
  • Post frequently
  • Follow, like, and comment on other pages like yours
  • Take quality photos with good lighting… there are lots of tips online for this
  • Have a “theme” to your page (use the same settings/filters on all your images)
  • Look at other pages for inspiration on how to take photos
  • Don’t go overboard on the hashtags, but utilize a select few that are relevant to your image
  • Engage brands by tagging them when you post a photo relating to them (may it be your food at their restaurant, clothing from a local brand, makeup you’re using, etc)
  • Try to add your own original “vibe” (cringing at my use of that word) to your page, it keeps people coming back.
  • Post photos of you! People want to know who they’re following. This is hard for me because I don’t often like photos of myself and feel weird posting them but give the people what they want (hahh).
  • Make sure your email or contact button is in your profile description.
  • Do some research on how to take nice product photos/flat lays.
  • Generally be an active user but do not spam people.
  • Avoid buying followers and likes. To be honest, when I first made my IG I bought 1,000 followers for 50 cents. This was helpful in kick starting my Instagram and I will still recommend this to new users. Those 1,000 users I bought have long been deleted by Instagram for being inactive but their impact was helpful in gaining my first real followers (people are inclined to follow someone they see other people liking). Besides doing this I would avoid buying any fake likes and followers because it’s obvious and not gaining you any real engagement.
  • Have fun! Don’t let posting be a chore, you’re here to share content with others because you enjoy it.
  • Have variety to your images.
  • Let people know your other social media account usernames.
  • By engaging brands they may post your image on their page, take advantage of that! Brands are always looking for content to post on social media and very often use tagged/hashtagged photos of them.
  • When you see a famous instagrammer they didn't just snap all these photos in a second, there's a lot of time that goes behind the images so don't think it comes to them easy or else you'll feel discouraged when taking your own photos
  • Learn from successful instagrammers that you like, what does their page have that attracts people to it?
I hope you've found a bit of this helpful, I plan to write more post like this but more specific to certain topics. My next one will be about setting up your first blog ;)


     
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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Being Human with BeHuman


*I originally had more photos (of donated food & clothing, and more shirt styles) for this post but they were sadly lost when my laptop MacBook was ruined. The keyboard got wet - and I did not know until the entire inside had corroded :(

A while ago I was contacted by the company BeHuman, a clothing company based out of Halifax. Amongst all the emails I receive this companies story stood out by far, and I was delighted to take part in spreading it. The company was inspired by the story of Mathew Jackson, a man who was tragically killed hours after doing an amazing act of kindness for a stranger in need. BeHuman now wants to spread the idea of simply being kind to others and accepting the differences that so often separate us by being a loving, positive, and good human.

The company asked me to take part in a bit of a challenge, to do an act of kindness and share it with all of you. I jumped at this opportunity because most of my days are spent conducting research on what makes us empathetic towards others, rather than actually acting on this.

I first want to share with you what my thesis research consisted of, which I have now began to carry on into a master's thesis. It might give you a little insight into how being kind towards others truly benefits you.. I know it's often said we feel nice after doing good for others but there are long term mental and physical health benefits to being able to emotionally relate and connect to the individuals around us.. Especially when you're helping someone who is hurting (such as trauma workers, the people my actual research is on).  We everyday face situations where our empathetic responses come into play. Empathy is our ability to understand and share the feelings of another, and is the basis of why we are kind and form helping relationships. Having certain empathetic traits that are other orientated (concern and perspective taking) showed to have a protective and positive impact on the well-being of the individual. Simply put, being kind by empathizing and helping others is a win/win for everyone.

Right, enough of my research, I could rant on about it for hours! For the challenge I thought about what I'd like to do... I feel quite nervous interacting with people at random, and not yet in my life do I have the money to spend on grand charitable acts. These are two big things that will stop people from believing they can do these sort of "random acts of kindness". Certainly not true, and I hope we can break away from that idea.
Here two acts I took part in to share and spread kindness:

Engaging Others
I work in customer service and with study participants, it is part of my job to be kind to these people (of course!) but really engaging people is another story. I found when I began to ask others questions and really listen to their answers they lit up. We smiled more at each other and in one case an older gentleman thanked me for talking to him as he was lonely on his travels. Being present in conversations and engaging with others, not just at work, can really brighten up days.

Donating Things You Already Own
I changed my diet a long time ago and I was left with a lot of food that was just sitting in our pantry. I was pleased to see this food not go to waste as we took four bags of non-perishable food to a Feed Nova Scotia location. With the holidays coming around it remains as important as ever to donate. Secondly, sitting at my parents' home in the South Shore of Nova Scotia there were bags of clothing from my high school and early university days. For some reason I was holding onto them when they could be used by others. Off to the donation bins they went!

As a side note about the actual shirts gifted from BeHuman that you see me wearing in the photos - they are super soft and they make me happy when I wear them. Their simplicity makes them the perfect go to t-shirt, they're extremely versatile. Check out their other clothing at www.behuman.me.

I would like to challenge my DEAR friend Colin to take part in this challenge. He is working as an audio engineer in Halifax (and starting to share this through his social media!) and I'd love to see him spread some kindness too :)

     
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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Quick & Special Christmas Gift Ideas When You Don't Know What To Buy

 
Every year there's a few people we draw a blank on what to buy them. You want it to be something special, but not insanely over the top. Maybe they're someone who seems to have everything or maybe you don't know their tastes super well (family and work secret Santa's are the death of me), either way you're stuck. I have compiled a list of simple yet quality gift ideas that perhaps have not yet crossed your mind.
 
Sweater & Hat
 I know buying clothing for someone can seem scary but a sweater can be very plain, and it's very easy to make sure you buy the right size (just go for oversized and cozy). Pair it with a hat and it's the perfect little combo. The pictured sweater and hat can be found at Bluenotes and totaled only $26.
 
Holiday Candles
A holiday scented candle is always a good idea. I think it's special if they're from Yankee or Bath & Body Works, and for each of these brands of candles you can buy accessories to top off the gift. For example pictured is a snowflake rim that sits on your Yankee while burns. BBW has a lot of little holder for all sizes of their candles as well. If you're worried about scent just go for traditional Christmas picks like cinnamon or sweets.
 
Travel Mugs
Even if the person already owns a travel mug,it's never a burden to own more. These were both purchased at Starbucks and if you put some flavored coffee or tea inside it's a perfect little bundle.
 
Coasters
Ok, maybe it's just me and you'll all think I'm crazy but I absolutely love coasters. They're practical, home décor, and can be super cute and unique. This makes me believe they're a great gift idea (paired with a little something more like sweets). At Homesense you can find really unique kinds like the marble stone ones pictured, or you can hunt for vintage antique ones like the silver plated ones.
 
Local Artisan Jewelry Set
The bracelet and earrings pictured are from Beck & Boosh, I really recommend checking out their jewelry online. I think buying local or buying from an individual artisan really adds a special factor to the gift. Simple silver or gold pieces are easily a hit if this person wears jewelry. 
 
Perfume
So this is definitely a more personal gift, and you're going to want to have an idea of the sort of scent a person likes. I just think that giving perfume shouldn't be confined to only from your significant other. At places like Winners you can find extremely nice name brand perfumes at super reasonable prices. Versace and Agent Provocateur? Under $50 each at Winners. Both very simple and acceptable scents, not too sweet or florally.
 
Cocktail Shaker & Drink Mixes
This would be a cute gift to receive during the holidays because they can put it right to use and have some fun with it. All they need is some alcohol and ice and they're ready to try out some new drinks. I found this shaker vintage, and the mixes at Winners.

Gourmet Chocolates
I think everyone enjoys getting sweets but instead of the simple Pot of Gold or Quality Street why not go for something a bit more unique. Even if you can't find a name brand like Charbonnel et Walker, you can go to sweet shop and get hand made chocolates very easily. For any Haligonian's reading this, Gourmandises Avenue Chocolaterie is perfect for this.
 
Healthy Alternatives
I know a lot of people would much prefer some gourmet trail mix over gourmet chocolates (definitely not me). I wanted to share with you guys this Canadian brand "Hand Fuel", great for an athletic or adventurous person, or someone always on the go. They are @handfuel on instagram.
 
     
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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Gift Inspiration: My Personal Christmas Wish List 2016

 
 

 
 
 


 
 
Personally I really enjoy looking at what others want for gifts, it helps me find gifts for others (who just can't decide what they want for themselves) or gifts I might ask from others if they're asking me for ideas. I know to some it might seem a little odd to be posting online, I promise this isn't a hint to anyone in my life.. given I don't believe any family or my boyfriend even bothers to read my blog, thanks guys! The above is a list of things I am lusting over, some big and some small. Christmas is a nice time to pick out a few things you wouldn't normally buy for yourself, I admit I have a little too much fun compiling those sort of lists. I hope this post gives you a few ideas :)

 
As a side note I am sad to say one of my cats spilled a large vase of flowers and their water all over my MacBook. I currently can't afford another laptop (#poorstudentprobs) but I hope to figure something out and get back to my regular posting soon. It's such a shame because my boyfriend and I just invested in the camera we had been saving a long time for.. and now we don't have anywhere to upload and store them! I may need to add a laptop to that wish list above.
 
Is there anything you're excited to give or possibly get this Christmas? Tell me in the comments below!
 
     
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