February 28, 2013

play dead

Well, I'm a little bit behind in my blog schedule for this week. I was hoping to post Part II of my blogging series today but it's not quite ready.

I did a quick outfit shoot yesterday between clients. And it turns out 100% of the photos I shot are blurry, so that's awesome.

And so, today, I will share a video that left me laughing so hard I cried.

*fast forward to 01:35 for the good part :)

February 27, 2013

skin care routine

I have streamlined my morning and evening skincare routine to a few of my all-time favorite products. I'm a product junkie, so you'll see me talk about a variety of different cleansers, moistuirzers, masque's, exfoliators, etc. on the blog, however this is what I've been doing lately.

First, let me say once again (I already talked about it here) that my skin has never been this clear in my life. And it's all due to the two Arbonne products I use on a daily basis: the primer and the liquid foundation

Since I've been using both of those products, my skin has been blemish free, except for two occasions (that's right, I can actually count how many blemishes I've had since there have been so few). I cannot say enough great things about both products. I love them. 
(my Arbonne consultant is fantastic and can help you if you have any questions about it. Email Katy at katy_ford32 (at) hotmail (dot) com)

I'd be surprised if I ever switch to anything else.

So, the morning skincare routine is basic: primer (which acts as my moisturizer) and Benefit It's Potent eye cream. That's it. I don't wash my face in the morning. If I need extra moisture, I'll apply a little bit of coconut oil to the very dry areas.

Once a week I exfoliate using the Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash. It's fantastic. It isn't as gritty as some exfoliators, which is a good thing, but still leaves my skin very smooth and clean.

I use my Clarisonic sometimes when I exfoliate on Saturdays, but not every time. There isn't a method to that other than it just depends on how I feel!
*my review of the Clarisonic Mia 2

At night, I remove my makeup with a Pond's Cleansing Towelette that I add a bit of warm water to. The more wet it is, the farther it goes. Afterwards, I apply a stroke of Mary Kay Lash Serum to each eyelid, apply Bare Escentuals Firming Cream under my eyes, and finish off with a swipe of Soft Lips in the vanilla flavor. 

Do you have a consistent routine that you stick to for daily skincare? Or do you change it up with new products? 

February 26, 2013

in which I hug the coconut tree

You know what? Even professional hairstylists can have the same issues as our clients. 

cue gasp.

Dryness, dull and lifeless hair, split ends, etc. And even though we know about all the best deep conditioners, leave-in treatments and other products to spruce up our locks, sometimes it helps to just get back to basics, nature style. 

I was mentioning my dry hair woes to my colorist Kelli, and she told me to try coconut oil.

"One of my clients came in and her hair was the softest it has ever been. I asked her what she's been using, and she said coconut oil. Like, 'on the shelf in the grocery store next to the olive oil' coconut oil."

So I ran out that evening and picked up a jar of coconut oil to deep condition my locks. 
The oil comes in solid form, but as soon as it warms up, either from the warmth of your hand or the warm steam in the shower, it liquifies and becomes spreadable.

My greatest fear in trying this natural conditioner is that it would make my hair greasy and heavy.

Childhood memories began to surface, and I recalled a time when my mom did a hot oil treatment on my hair.

It was soft, yes, but it was also extremely oily. YES I KNOW. Oily hair from an oil treatment---surprising. At this point you may be thinking,"so Kate. Are hot oil treatments good for your hair?"

I'd answer with a simple "meh." Hot oil treatments aren't bad for your hair, but they don't add much other than, that's right, oil and weight. Instead, consider coconut oil since it's lighter, and just as conditioning.

Anyway, back to reality: I tried the coconut oil by scooping out about 1 tablespoon, emulsifying it in my hands, and rubbing it from mid-shaft to ends on my wet, freshly shampoo'd hair. I let it sit for about 6 minutes. Then I rinsed, and followed up with my normal conditioner.

And man was I impressed. It filled in all the holes of dryness and left me with stronger-feeling, softer hair. And absolutely no oily residue. And since then, my hair has been in fantastic shape.

It's a subtle deep conditioner. You may not feel an extreme difference between the before and after, but I noticed the integrity of my hair was restored especially as I styled it.

Join me in the coconut oil tree hugging, would you? Maybe split a can with your neighbor since it seems you can only buy it in one size. Or, maybe you could begin cooking with it as well, who knows.

I've found a few other articles on the many wonderful uses of coconut oil too:

The Glitter Guide / Adding Coconut Oil to your Beauty Routine

101 Uses for Coconut Oil

February 25, 2013

Oscar Hair Recap

Overall, I was underwhelmed by the hair at the Oscars. 
It was a lot of the same looks, and things we've seen before. 
I guess the good thing about playing it safe is that you are sure to make the "win" list instead of the "hair disaster" list! 

1. Amy Adams looked beautiful, but colorless. The look worked for her, but it was forgettable. I liked her hair, but it was a little too messy for my taste.

2. Jennifer Garner, sweetest wife in history. Did you see her tear up talking about Ben? She looked stunning in purple, and I loved her hair. It looked easy and comfortable to wear.

3. Stacy Keibler's "fob" (faux bob) looked pretty good. It was a little wide on the bottom, but that may have been somewhat unavoidable depending on how long her hair actually is.

4. Reese. Classic. I've seen this before, but she killed it in the "shine" department. I also love her lip color.

5. Maria Menounos looked beautfiul. Her hair was extra large, but it looked soft and touchable.

6. Naomi Watt's was my favorite. She looked beautiful. I did not enjoy her dress, but her hair and makeup was flawless.

7. Amanda Seyfried looked fantastic with her hair up and away from her face. Her eyes looked a little tired/red, but other that that she nailed it.

8. Jessica Chastain looked great. Her hair was predictable, but it does look good on her. 

1. Melissa. WHAT IS THAT. As a fellow lover of huge hair, this is shaped wrong, looks stiff, and isn't doing a thing for you.

2. Jennifer Aniston looks beautiful, like usual, but I wish she would have changed it up. Her hair is always the same. 

3. Kristen Chenoweth was giving me heart palpitations through the tv screen due to her high energy on the carpet. And her bun was too tight. I think she's cute, but she would have looked less severe with softer hair. But---I rarely like a tight bun/top knot, so I'm not surprised that her hair wasn't a favorite of mine. 

4. Jennifer Lawrence looked happy to be there. Her makeup looked great, but her hair was boring. The top was stiff looking from some angles, and the back was too "done". In other words, it looked a little over-thought.

Who were your favorites? 

the french twist

Coming off of a glamourous night in Hollywood, nothing seemed more fitting than sharing a French Twist tutorial. It's probably one of the most recognizable and classic hairstyles of all time.

To keep it modern, I reversed it. So, instead of working up the head, you work towards the bottom.

The beautiful clip that completed this look is from BHLDN. BHLDN is a sister store to Anthropologie, featuring stunning wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, wedding accessories, and of course, hair accessories.

If I were getting married again, to Justin of course, this would be exactly how I would wear my hair. Bracken clip and all. 

Tools: bobby pins, a comb, hairspray, working spray. optional: head piece. 

The Aquage Biomega working spray I mentioned in the video can be found here!

February 23, 2013

Pinklette Giveaway

Pinklette is an online jewelry shop with a huge variety of jewelry to chooose from. My favorite part is that it's organized my "trend", so you can choose jewelry that fits your style easily.

Would you like to win a few jewels from Pinklette? Enter using the giveaway tool below!

The winner will receive this necklace, and these (this and this) bracelet! 

Shop now and use coupon code "smallthings" for 20% off anything in the shop! (good thru 3/31/13)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

February 22, 2013

High Five for Friday

Folks. What a week.

My mom came down for a visit and became violently ill with food poisoning within a day of arriving.

We all felt terrible for her. I mean, it's one thing to be sick. . .it's another thing to be sick and not be in your own bed.

Justin and I were both stuck down with what we are fairly certain was the Nora-virus last year, and it was the sickest either of us has ever been.

I mean, when we said, "in sickness and in health" during our wedding vows (we actually didn't say that, we used personalize vows, but just go with me here. . .) , we finally got to see what that meant.

Game-changing sickness. So I truly knew how poor mom felt this week.

Anyway, she suffered all Monday morning/Tuesday, but has been much much better now. She even helped me rearrange my office yesterday. In fact, I knew she was going to make it when she said she began to dream of going to Target and redecorating her home. That's the doodle I know and love. 

Some highlights of the week are . . .

*can you feel how windy it was this day just by looking at this photo?

My friend Kacia made me this beautiful scarf. I requested a cat shape for the button, and she kindly obliged and made (made!) this cute little wooden cat. 
People keep looking at it when I'm at the store check out, or somewhere that I deal closely with strangers, and I truly want to hear their thoughts.

"Oh wow, that girl is cray cray."
"What a beautiful scarf. Cats are the best."
"Nothing screams cat lady like wearing a wooden cat on your scarf."

I'm assuming most are thinking what I'm thinking, which is, "that is the cutest scarf in all the land."

But seriously, it's pretty perfect. It's not huge where your hair is all messed up and you feel choked, but it's warm and cozy.


I love these blue earrings from The Dotted Poppy. It was hard to choose between the ones I'm wearing and these. It's fun to wear jewelry that my mom makes! She's quite talented ( in more ways than one ) and her prices are fantastic. Check out her shop on Etsy


Made this delicious baked spaghetti last night. This was the third time I've made it, and it is truly scrumptuois. I did break a rule the second time and used skim milk (EVEN THOUGH I WAS TOLD SPECIFICALLLY NOT TO) and Caitlin was right, it won't work. So, follow the rules, would ya? I also added beef because my man needs meat in his meals. 

4. Part two of the series on Blogging goes up next week! 


This, my friends, is so true. 

Linking up with this tiny cutie here.

Enjoy your weekend! 

February 21, 2013

umba box number two

My second Umba box arrived! Let's take a look at the contents, shall we?
(If you missed my first post about it, click here to read it!)

I have a soft spot for paper goods, ironically. So much of my life is technology-heavy, for convienence, but I could linger in a paper store for hours.

I love the Hunter Boots print from BrightBold&Beautiful! And her shop is filled with other beautiful prints as well. Like this one--I love it. 

The stationary from River & Bridge is adorable too. I love the font that "hello" is written in. She has a bunch of other cute options in her shop as well! 

Finally, the necklace is made by Figs & Ginger. While it's not my personal style, I appreciate the delicate handmade nature of it. Also? They are located in Ashville which is just a few hours west of Raleigh. And if these were gold, I would buy them immediately!  

I really enjoyed this Umba box. Like I mentioned in the first post, it is a little pricey for a monthly subscription--but I completely understand why. Handmade items are special, and simply cost more to make than mass produced products.

I appreciate the detail and craftsmanship that goes into what I've recieved in the box. I have one more box to get as a part of my 3 month subscription, so look out for it next month! 

Questions about Umba box? Click here

February 20, 2013

dots and stripes

Sweater : J.Crew Factory
Skirt : Old Navy
Scarf : Boden via a friend (similar)
Boots : Loft
Jacket : Calvin Klein via TJ Maxx

This was one of those outfits that I put together in my head, but I wasn't sure how it would look in real life. Brown + purple + black + grey? When I describe it that way, it sounds like I'm wearing a bruise. 

I happened to wear this to my dentist appointment a few weeks ago--so now it is considered my "lucky outfit". The lucky bruise outfit. 

February 19, 2013

magical lipstick

I'm a skeptic at heart. My natural inclination is to always assume products won't work like they say they will--and then I'll be pleasantly surprised if they actually do work well!

So when DIOR came out with "self-adjusting" lipstick, you might be able to imagine what I was thinking.

yeah right. Pah-lease DIOR. 

On top of that, when I opened up the tube and saw it was a translucent baby pink color, it assured me even more that there was no way this would add color to my lips.

Obviously, I had to try it.

The claim is that the color will develop over the first 3-5 minutes after application. So if you quickly apply a few strokes of this lipstick, glance in the mirror, and then run out the door, you may be surprised to see a new color by the time you get to work. 

I was able to see the color change before my eyes, and I have to admit I was pretty impressed with the tone it left. I really think it's a beautiful "natural" pink color. 

This lipstick/balm is one of the most nourishing products I've ever applied. I absolutely love the consistency and the shine. On the other hand, I hate the packaging. The little knob at the end of the tube is not as easy to grab--however I guess it would be easy to tell it apart from your other lipsticks while you are doing the "blindly fish around for lipstick at the bottom of my purse" move. Oh, you don't do that?

The whole concept is that it will work with your skin's pH to determine the right shade for you. I've considered running up to random strangers, tackling them, making them apply it, and then taking photos of the final color but that may get me thrown in jail. 

How about if you try it, tweet me a photo. I'd love to see how it looks on different skin tones.

One of the other things I love about wearing this lipstick/balm is it won't leave lipstick marks on anything. That's right, no more lipstick rings around your coffee, no more pink marks on your sandwich bread while you're eating lunch, and finally, a lipstick/balm I can wear AND kiss my husband without leaving him with a smudge of lipstick. #hugewin

Since this lipstick is so smart, you may not be shocked to see that it isn't the cheapest item you'll ever walk out of Sephora with. 

Tarte has a similar product as well. I haven't tried it, but it will cost you a little less than the DIOR Lip Glow

If you are scared of lipstick, or you don't want to look "overly made up", give it a try. I think you'll like it. 

*DIOR has no idea who I am. I paid for this lipstick and felt like telling you about it.

February 18, 2013

Jessica Alba Inspired Hair Tutorial

Jessica Alba pretty much killed it at the Golden Globes, didn't she?

Not only did her side waves compliment her perfectly, but her orange/coral lip color was nearly as talked about as the awards themselves. That lip color is hard to wear, but she nailed it. 

Today's tutorial is for Jessica's hair, and I'll share a few of my favorite orange-y coral lip colors too!

You'll need:
a comb, a 1.25 inch barrel curling iron (or a 1 inch with the heat turned way down), and hairspray. 

Earrings: Stella and Dot
Lip color: Revlon Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti

Start with a gloss, or sheer orange/coral shade if you are apprehensive about wearing it. If you like it, go bold with an opaque lip color! 

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

February 15, 2013

spring favorites

As I write this, I'm looking out the window at frost on the ground. Nonetheless, I have spring on my mind, including fresh pastel colors and summery accessories. We're always one step ahead of the seasons, aren't we? I remember dying to wear a scarf in September while it was 80 degrees, and now it's chilly but I'm craving peep-toes and fresh color.

1. I have really loved this illuminator by Bare Escentuals. It's called "Love Affair" and adds the most beautiful rose glow to my face. It won't give you quite the pearly reflecitve light as a highlighter, but instead adds warmth and the slightest bit of shimmer. Dust it in your cheekbones, down the center of your nose, across your forehead and a tiny bit on your chin.

2. The Maybelline Color Whispers have become a quick favorite of mine. It's the kind of lip color you can apply without a mirror, which I love. It adds a hint of color with just enough shine.

3. I can't get enough lavender, purple, violet, and raspberry lately, so this nail color in "French Affair" by Essie is perfect. It's a great alternative to my typical Essie Chinchilly grey.

4. A mint scarf. Need I say more? Mint is the color of the season--along with practically ever other pastel.

5. Nude peep toes are going to take the place of my grey patent wedges that I wear constantly. These are from Target and are very comfortable!

6. Delicate and dainty studs from Anthropologie adds a touch of charm to your outfit. 

February 14, 2013

Blogging: Part 1 // starting a blog

Blogging about blogging is like writing a book about writing a book. Or teaching a class about teaching a class.
It may sound redundant, but it can actually be quite helpful.

This is the first part of the series I'm writing on blogging, covering the very basics and including my personal experiences along the way. Thanks to a great idea from a facebook fan, I'm breaking it into three parts: Starting, Growing, Maintaining.

Starting will include topics like:
why do you want to blog?
establishing social media (name, consistency)
time commitment

Growing will cover:
networking/connecting with other bloggers
link parties
*vlogging, if you so choose!

Maintaining will cover:
finding your voice
connecting with bigger brands
attending a conference
making money

It only makes sense to share a little bit of my experience blogging, so we can start from the beginning.

I started blogging here at The Small Things Blog in January of 2011, after starting a few satirical and sarcastic anonymous blogs before that.

I would write about my travel experiences, tell over-dramaticized tales of things that I thought were funny, and occasionally rant about things that were annoying.

Thankfully that blog died a quick death due to disinterest after just a few posts.

I started The Small Things Blog as a place where I would share about "the small things in life" that I enjoyed. I'd feature an Etsy shop I loved, or share my new favorite lip color.

I filmed my first video hair tutorial in July 2011, and posted it to my blog as a resource for my clients to refer back to. I opted to post it on my blog instead of e-mailing the file to each client who asked for it.

Originally, I didn't want to be the girl in front of the camera. I searched YouTube and hair blogs, but I couldn't find any that were professional enough for me to share with my clients. I wanted to give them an option for a "second lesson" beyond what I taught them in the chair.

After a few weekly tutorial videos, I began posting the after photo's to Pinterest. Pinterest was exploding around this time. People were flocking to it like a moth to a flame. Everyone was talking about it, filling up their boards, and spending many hours on the site.

I thought, "hey. maybe a few other people might learn something. who knows."

So I pinned a few photos of my tutorials.
My they began to get repinned. And repinned. And repinned.

And I learned 2 important things:

1. Other women, besides my clients, are finding these basic videos informative.
2. Pinterest is a great way to reach people, especially new readers.

At this time I was also participating in link parties*, sharing my hair tutorial of the week. These parties helped direct traffic to my blog as well.

*what is a link party?

I kept filming, pinning, and filling the rest of the week with my typical content. I added a few more outfit posts, makeup ideas, and hair product reviews, but I didn't want to turn into solely a hair blog. I wanted to maintain the variety in content, in an effort to avoid burning out.

My blog grew quickly. Almost too fast. I felt "behind" immediately. I knew nothing. By the fall of 2011, my blog was averaging roughly 2-3 million pageviews a month. And since then, that number has continued to grow. 

Shocked? So was I. The hardest part was still learning how to blog successfully, but learning publicly with people watching. It's a humbling experience!

I joined the BlogHer publishing network in October 2011 thanks to a recommendation from another blogger. That was an eye-opening experience, and for the first time I thought, "Man, I could really turn this into a second job."

Fast forward to now, roughly a little over a year after having this blog become a source of income. I consider it a business, and now my second job, since I am still working behind the chair in my studio.

My time is split 50/50 between doing hair and writing this blog. I'm immensely grateful that I get to do two things that I love.

So what does the future hold for these businesses? Who knows. And I'm okay with that. For now, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing.

I struggle with writing about blogging. I often think things like : When have you learned enough to be a credible source? How many pageviews do you have to have in order to give advice? How many years should you have spent blogging in order to share valuable experiences? Do you have to be a "big" blogger? What is a "big" blogger?

I've been doing hair for 10 years. I feel credible in that arena.

I've been blogging for 2 years. I feel like a 1st grader sometimes. I'm constantly learning new things. And maybe that never goes away?

Nonetheless, I've learned a lot over these past few years, and if you are starting a blog, or interested in maintaining/growing your blog, maybe these tips will help.

So you want to start a blog?

1. Why?

It may be helpful to ask yourself these questions : Why are you interested in blogging? What blog(s) drew you to the idea of starting your own? What types of blogs do you find most interesting?
Answering these questions honestly will help you hone in your ideas, and give you a clear direction for starting out. There isn't a wrong answer, by the way. And you can change as you go, just like I did.

2. Are you a patient person?

Blogging takes time, effort, more time, and more effort. It isn't just snapping pics, uploading them to a post, writing a few words, and peace-ing out. There are so many more details behind the scenes that you won't discover until you start. So be patient. Learn. Skim through other blogs. Find your favorites. Read them consistently and see if you can notice routines and details. Perhaps begin to connect with these bloggers via social media.

3. Are you only looking for a get rich quick scheme or c/o clothes?

Plain and simple : it's fantastic to get paid for blogging. It's allowed me to take more time away from the studio in order to blog without loosing income. I'm grateful.
Can you make 6 figures? Maybe. I bet Pioneer Woman does. In fact, she probably makes 7 figures. And good for her, she's got a fantastic blog--which as morphed into an entire brand!

But think about how her blog started. It was out of a love for blogging/sharing. She's a writer. She loves to write. And her business grew out of something she loved.

So keep that in mind, as you begin your blog. Blog out of interest, and because you enjoy it. If it brings in some income, fantastic. If that hasn't started yet, be patient.
C/o clothes/items (aka "Courtesy of") are a great perk to blogging. Don't lose yourself in "c/o" clothes/items. Maintain your original sense of style throughout your blogging. It's obvious if you are wearing something that you otherwise wouldn't even go near in a store. I've learned from some hasty decisions that I've made in the past two years regarding c/o items, and am now tailoring my giveaways and c/o items to things that really and truly fit my personal style.
I would encourage you to do that from the beginning. Don't say yes to everything. No matter how valuable the product, or how good the money is. If it's not you, your readers won't care. They read your blog for you. Remember that.
This might be a good time to talk about sponsored posts. I'd recommend the same thing about sponsored posts that I do about accepting c/o items. If it fits your content, makes sense on your blog, and you actually care about it, I say do it. I don't think sponsored posts are bad, but it's important to not go overboard with them. I wrote a little bit more about this here.
From time to time I ask myself, "would I still blog if I didn't make any money?" At this point, it would look different as I would probably go back to the salon full-time, but I'd still blog. I love talking about beauty-related things in real life, and therefore, I love blogging about it.

The first steps:

1. Figure out a name. 
Good luck. 
That is one of the most challenging things about a blog. Think long and hard about it, and make sure it won't lock you into a certain category (unless you are sure you want to only blog about one, or similar, topics ). Type it out to see how it looks as a URL. Make sure it makes sense, it's easy to spell, and easy to say.
My original blog URL was "itsthesmallthingsblog.blogspot.com". People would ask for my blog URL and I would say, "It's itsthesmallthings dot blogspot dot com". It's its. It was redundant and annoying. When I bought my domain name, I dropped the it's. 
It's very simple to buy a domain name, click here for a guide

2. Choose a platform.

The debate between Wordpress and Blogger, two of the most popular platforms, is like comparing a PC to a Mac. Both will work for you. Both will do the basics of what you need. One is "cooler" and more popular than the other, but there are perks for both.
I've been using Blogger since the beginning but have considered many times switching to Wordpress. I haven't found a convincing enough argument to have made the plunge up until this point, but I'm always checking out other blogs and seeing if they are using a feature (on Wordpress) that I would enjoy to have on Blogger.

A lot of the articles or reviews comparing Wordpress to Blogger are incredibly vauge. I've read through comments like "If you want to take your blog to the next level, you have to be on Wordpress", or "There is so much more design freedom on Wordpress. You can do so much more". My question is, "Like what?". For someone who isn't a designer, I can't put a value on the design freedom since I don't really know what that is. The layouts are different, and I think you have more options for customizing your blog, but you can also customize Blogger pretty well too. 

As I write this, I'm almost 90% sure that I'm going to switch to Wordpress in the near future. I've picked up on some things that I'd like to incorporate into my blog, and I will definitely write a post about whether it was worth it!

I asked my friend Kacia to write a little bit about her comparison of blogger and wordpress, since she's done both. 

"When I decided to start blogging, I wasn't quite sure what I wanted for my little space in the online world.  I am someone who tends to research quite a bit, reading reviews, trying for myself, and then deciding upon the best choice for my needs.  When researching the various platforms, there were a few reasons why I chose blogger to start:
1. Blogger keeps blogging simple and straightforward: it is linked with your email, you don't need to know about servers or coding or hosting to get started.
2. If you want to purchase a URL, all you need to do is purchase the URL.  Blogger makes it very easy to make the switch.
3.  It's common and it's customizable!  You typically see larger blogs without custom URLs on blogspot.com, not wordpress.com.  There are a few reasons for this fact, but it is most likely due to the customization limitations on wordpress.com--no ads, no plugins, limited themes, etc.  

So why make the switch?  While there are many reasons to stay with blogger, there are probably just as many reasons to switch.  For me, it was the user interface for wordpress that really appealed to me.  It was easy to use and figure out--I love being able to customize with plugins and widgets that are drag and drop.  Wordpress also has thousands of themes available for free or to purchase.  These themes vary from simple blog themes, to websites, to ecommerce, to forums.  The wide range of site that can be built on wordpress is very appealing!  For example, you could have 3 sites all running on wordpress, but only one might be a blog-type layout.  

What do you need to do to make the switch?
1.  Find a hosting company you trust--and one that will help you make the switch.  I highly recommend Kelly at Twenty70 Hosting--no, I'm not getting paid to say that!  She charges a very competitive monthly rate and will help you transfer your content from blogger to wordpress. 

2.  Research themes: google is your friend. :) I receive a lot of emails asking how I learned my way about wordpress and various types of code (HTML, CSS, etc).  My answer?  Google it.

3.  Have fun!  As I mentioned before, I love exploring, learning, and finding new plugins--maybe keep your blogger site live for a while, so you can create a sandbox website using wordpress just to play in for a while.  

4.  Don't be afraid to ask questions.  The community of bloggers would be really boring if we didn't ask questions and help each other out!  Ask questions and then when you become an expert, share your knowledge with others as well!

I hope this helps!  I know there are many reasons why people love all sorts of blogging platforms: typepad and tumblr, to name a few.   Stay true to you, make a list of reasons for making the switch, and then just jump in to whichever platform you decide is best for you!"
Check out these articles comparing Wordpress and Blogger, and decide for yourself! 
here  //   here  //    here

3. Find a design you like. 

There is no shortage of design options to choose from. You can find some pretty fantastic free basic templates to start with, or dive right in and get a custom look.
I'd suggest starting with something free and see what you like and dislike about it. You'll be better prepared to help design a custom look if you already know what really matters to you.
One example of something I learned about design is after a new redesign I received so many comments of readers that were thankful that I finally put a "search" box in my sidebar. However, there was a search box in the previous design, but was placed lower in the sidebar. Make sure the "popular" features that people will want to use in your blog design are accessible and easy to find.
People occasionally will e-mail asking how they can follow me on Pinterest, for example, even though the navigation boxes are right near the top of the screen. They may not see them, or not know that they are clickable. So know that, no matter how streamlined the design, it can't be perfectly tailored to everyone's visual preferences. Choose a design that speaks to you, make it easy to navigate, and blog away.
The easiest way to look for a designer is to click through from blogs whose designs you love. The most common way to find who designed a blog is to scroll to the bottom of the page and you may find a "designed by" link at the very bottom in the center. Oftentimes you can click through to that designers site.
Otherwise, I would google "blogger blog design" "blogger template design" "blog design" "wordpress blog designer" and other keywords like that. You'll find a plethora.
Lastly, don't forget about Etsy. Search "blog design" on Etsy and you'll be brought to tons of designers. You can also choose a price range you are comfortable with, and narrow down designers that way.

3. After your blog is live, it's named, and designed, get going with social media. Choose usernames that coincide with your blog name.

Example blog : I Love Cats

URL: www.ilovecats.com
twitter handle : @catlove4life
instagram : @catlove4life
facebook fan page : facebook.com/ILoveCats

Maintain some level of consistancy so people can connect it to your blog.

Social media humanizes a blogger. It's more of a conversational tool than a blog post in itself, and allows readers/followers to get to know you better.

If I had to rate social media, and what they do in a relational sense, here is how I would rate it.

Instagram: the most personal. snapshots of daily life.
Twitter: the most conversational, especially around brands/other bloggers.
Facebook: the best way to connect with readers, especially those that don't have a blog.
Vine: awkward videos that also show more of your personality. Or your husbands. Whatever. 

4. Blogging takes time. But the amount of time is up to you. I'm spending at least 20 hours a week on my blog, or doing blog-related things. Most of my time is spent shooting and filming, but right behind that is answering e-mails or writing posts. 

You can make it whatever you want it to be. If you can only commit to writing twice a week, write twice a week. If you want to write daily, write daily. I even know some blogs that post new content mulitple times a day.
But again, it's your blog and you can do what you want with it! You'll figure out the right flow, and how much time you are interested in spending on it.

I hope this helps with the foundational aspects of starting a blog. If you have any questions relating to topics that I wrote about on this post, feel free to ask them below. Save any questions related to the Maintaining and Growing sections of this series for those posts please! 

Read Part 2 hereRead Part 3 here

February 13, 2013

let's talk about waterlines

Adding eyeliner to your waterline is an easy way to change up your eye makeup. It can add darkness to a smoky eye, brighten up tired/red eyes, make smaller eyes look bigger, and big eyes look smaller.

The waterlines are the area where your eyelids meet to close your eyes. In other words, it's the area between the base of your lashes and your actual eyeball.

In high school, I remember my eye doctor telling me not to put makeup on my waterline. 

"Okay doc, whatever you say. You're right. Being cool doesn't matter as much as my eye health." ::wink wink::

So, I would leave the appointment, get into my car, flip down the mirror and layer on the black liner that he so kindly made me rub off.

I kind of went through a "only wear black, smoky eye makeup, and black high heels" stage in beauty school.


High School. Not my best fashion moment.

Anyway, my eye doctor was probably right. It's not the safest makeup technique to do to your eyes since it can clog tear ducts and cause irritation. I've never had any negative effects, that I'm aware of, but I still try to limit using this technique.

So: listen to my eye doctor. Do this at your own risk. Don't come crying to me if you get an eye irritation, because, well, two reasons: 
1. crying probably isn't helping your eye irritation.
2. I'm going to tell you that I told you not to do this.

Anyway, let's get on with it.

The two eyeliners I'll be featuring in this post are Mac Powerpoint Eye Pencil in Engraved, and Tarte EmphasEYES Inner Rim Brightener.

In the first photo, I'm wearing absolutely nothing on either waterline.

In this photo, I'm wearing the Tarte liner on both the top and the bottom waterline. The biggest difference I can see is that my eyes look bigger, but almost too "heavy" at the bottom. 

In this photo, I added the Mac liner to the top, and left the Tarte liner on the bottom. This adds a little bit more definition around the top lashes by making them look a little fuller.

Here I'm wearing black on both the top and bottom waterlines. You can see the most dramatic change in the eye makeup with this technique. It makes my eyes look smaller, but they pop more.

As you can see, from all the looks lined up together, there isn't a huge change between all the looks.

Using liner on the waterlines is one of those subtle techniques that can add a finishing touch to an eye makeup look, depending on what you are going for. If you've had a long night, and wake up to red, swollen eyes, try the Tarte liner to brighten them up. 
If you want the smokiest of smoky eyes, line the top and bottom with black or slate liner.

So now that I've said all this and made you all interested in trying it, don't forget about my warning above, k?

Check yourself before you wreck yourself.