Sunday, March 29, 2015

Celebrating my 18th Birthday at Disneyland

You really get the best of both worlds when you celebrate your birthday at Disneyland. All the cast members are so sweet, the attention to detail on rides is mind-blowing, and I mean, who doesn't want a week's worth of exercise? Despite the incredibly hot weather, I had a very lovely day with two of my best friends, Nicole and Emily. (And yes, one of my best friends is also named Emily which means we always get weird looks when we order one after another at Starbucks.) We went on everything from Indiana Jones Adventure to Big Thunder Railroad, and we had some pretty yummy treats like frozen cherry lemonade and the famous dole whip pineapple ice cream to cool off. I'm so excited to come back for Grad Nite at the end of May, but I'm not sure how I'm supposed to party at 1 am in the morning if I was so tired at 8 pm this time around...
Big Thunder Railroad
my brave attempt at taking a picture while on the ride

Main Street USA
avoiding all the tourists by taking a picture on the side of the castle. duh.
the bridge that leads to Snow White's wishing well
Space Mountain, my second favorite ride after Splash Mountain
Have you ever been to Disneyland?


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Makeup Look | Fresh and Refresh

Well guys, here it first ever makeup look! I am honestly quite rubbish at applying makeup on myself, so I'm not sure why I decided to be daring enough to put makeup on my cousin. I wanted to keep this look simple and bright, so I stuck to my everyday makeup routine with a slight hint of color on the lips and cheeks.

BASE | I started off with my favorite Origins Make a Difference Plus+ Moisturizer as it's hydrating yet extremely lightweight. It also gives off a beautiful subtle glow when worn under makeup. Next, I followed up with the bareMinerals Prime Time Primer. This gel primer works wonders for smoothing out the skin as well as reducing the appearance of pores when layered with foundation. I then used my favorite tool, the Beauty Blender, to seamlessly blend in the Covergirl 3 in 1 Stay Fabulous Foundation. I followed up with the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer to hide spots as well as to reduce redness around the nose. I also used my new favorite, the Maybelline Age Rewind Dark Circle Concealer, to conceal dark circles along with highlighting underneath her eyes. For a bit of color, I popped on my favorite blush, Exposed by Tarte, as it's long lasting and suitable for all skin tones.

EYES | I began by making a thin line with the Maybelline Master Precise Ink Liner Pen (which was so incredibly hard to do as I can't even draw a straight line on myself!) Next, I curled my cousin's lashes multiple times with my Tweezerman Eyelash Curler as though she has long lashes, they don't like to hold a curl. I followed up with my favorite mascara, the waterproof version of Maybelline The Rocket. Long, fluttery lashes were essential to this look as I wanted to create a refreshing, wide-awake appearance. For brows, I used a color that matched her hair color and created a slight arch to give them some shape.

LIPS | After using a lip balm to act as a moisturizing base, I applied the Revlon Colorburst Lacquer Balm in Vivacious (I just love saying that word) to the center of her lips then gently feathered it out to create a gradient lip, a very popular look in Korea. This has been one of my favorite ways to wear bright lips as the thought of applying it full on scares me a bit!

What are your go-to makeup products for a fresh spring look?


Saturday, March 21, 2015

My 18th Birthday!

Ahhh 18! What a crazy, yet exciting age to be. It's crazy to call myself a legal "adult" as my friends still think I act like a little child (one of my friends thinks my spirit animal is a five year old fairy.) I also received a little birthday present from all of you the day after my birthday as I reached 200 followers on Bloglovin'! Blogging has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and talking to all of you is what makes it fun. I have two more birthday posts coming up, one on my birthday haul and the second on celebrating my birthday at Disneyland. Oh, and if you're wondering who wrapped this beautiful present, it's none other than my sweet friend Nicole who is seriously a crafting genius. She mentioned that she reads all my posts in her letter (which was in a scroll by the way. yes, I said a scroll.) which genuinely made me so happy!

18 Favorite Memories Before I Turned 18

1. Window-shopping with my mom and giggling about the busy shoppers with a pretzel and lemonade
2. Jumping off the diving board into a 13 ft. deep pool for the first time when I was 3
3. Snorkling with sea turtles and schools of colorful fish in Maui
4. 6 years of ballet but especially the moment I got my first pair of toe shoes
5. Receiving the lead role in my first grade play. Yes, I was so proud I was the little hen with a whopping 10 lines.
6. Seeing my first snowfall one night while sitting in front of a window at my cousin's house
7. Going to the Hannah Montana concert in fourth grade (my first concert!)
8. My 10 year old birthday party- a huge bounce house with slides, pin the nose on the clown, and lots of presents
9. Attempting to learn how to ski in Lake Tahoe for two days but never getting past the bunny slope
10. Picking up my dog/younger sis Muffin for the first time. I don't have any siblings, so this day was so special.
11. Sixth grade was my favorite year of school. I had the funniest friends, a great teacher, and lots of pre-teen fun.
12. Being baptized on Good Friday
13. Seeing Hairspray, my first Broadway show, in NYC and running out in the rain to get the cast's autographs
14. Tutoring Snoop Dogg's (Snoop Lion) son and nephew and getting to talk to him at promotion about math
15. Making the mock trial team and (figuratively) killing it with my team at the courthouse four seasons strong
16. Joining my school's newspaper- stressful deadlines, lots of sarcasm, and Taylor Swift car jams
17. Playing bingo and making crafts with the lovely ladies and gents at my local senior home for two summers
18. Starting my blog three years ago while I was ever so bored over Christmas break (one of my best decisions yet)

Do you have any similar memories?



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Review | bareMinerals Mineral Foundation

When I first started wearing makeup, I really had no idea what I doing. My mom was introduced to bareMinerals at the time I started wearing makeup, so she eventually bought me my first starter kit as well. I was overjoyed with the thought of wearing makeup (though foundation was the only thing I wore in middle school,) and my love for makeup shot off from there.

Coverage | Simply put, this foundation provides a light to medium coverage. It looks incredibly natural (and was essentially fool proof for 12 year old me.) It does a decent job at covering redness, but it doesn't help too much with acne and acne scarring. I like to call this my "weekend foundation" for those days when you just want a bit of light coverage. For those of you with great skin, this would be a wonderful foundation as it's not heavy or sticky like a liquid foundation. As for lasting power, bareMinerals claims that this can last up to 8 hours, but I say more like 5 hours if you have oily skin or if it's a hot day.

Shade Selection and Finishes | The shade selection is incredible with 20 shades from all over the spectrum, so no worries here.  They are categorized by undertones: cool, neutral, or warm. What's great about powder foundation over liquid foundation is that it does not oxidize. It blends in effortlessly with your skin, and no one will guess that you're wearing foundation. They have come out with two formulas, original and matte. I prefer matte to original as my skin leans more towards the oily side, but I honestly can't tell too much of a difference between the two.

Ingredients | We can't forget that this is a mineral foundation, and it contains no parabens, binders, fillers, or synthetic chemicals, meaning no weird breakouts. We all hate those.

Conclusion | I would recommend trying out a starter kit first before purchasing the full size. I am glad this was my first foundation, but I would have done fine with a drugstore mineral foundation for a cheaper price. However, the bareMinerals foundation ($28 USD) is cheaper than the Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation ($38 USD) if you want to put it into comparison. My final verdict is give a drugstore mineral foundation a try first (Loreal True Match Naturale is a great one,) and come to this if it doesn't work out.

Have you tried anything from bareMinerals that you loved?


Saturday, March 14, 2015

The 8 Blogs I Can't Live Without

Citron and Guavaberry | Vanessa is on a whole other level to herself. Her quirky personality is unbeatable, and her posts are filled with the most beautiful pictures that keep me ooing and awwing to this day. She is quite the prop genius I might add, and every posts she writes, whether it's about beauty or her dog, Mitty, is exciting (and humorous) to read.

Rush & Teal | Allie's blog is one word: gorgeous. I love her blog design as it's so clean and truly clutter-free. Her pictures are vibrant and stunning, and her posts are some of my favorite as they are short and sweet. From recipe to fitness to fashion, she covers all the bases. She is also a beautiful person inside and out, and she is only one follower away from 1000, so definitely go check her out!

Sartorial Diner | I have this obsession with food, so when I see the incredible places Stephanie visits I am so jealous! Not to mention her pictures make my mouth-water (which is an especially bad thing when I'm reading them late at night.) The number of places she's traveled to blows my mind, and her posts are giving me great restaurant recommendations for when I visit New York in the summer. Her collection of restaurant reviews is absolutely unreal!

Sleep and Water | There are plenty bloggers who review makeup, but this girl is one that I truly trust. Her reviews are so incredibly in depth, and I'm a pictures type of gal, so it's extremely helpful to see clear swatches as well as comparisons to similar products. If I'm ever unsure of whether I should splurge or save, I check out Sleep and Water.

Star Violet | I like those blogs where I get a little taste of everything, and Star Violet is just that. Becky is one of the bloggers who I would truly love to be friends with in real life, and I almost think of her as my blogging big sister! Her pictures are always gorgeous, and I am so jealous of her flawless skin and ability to blend eyeshadow like no other. Teach me your ways my friend!

The Celution | Every time there's a product I am contemplating whether or not I want to buy, Celina always seems to write a post about it at exactly the right time. I don't know how this happens (maybe it's those telepathic signals I'm sending her online,) but she reviews products that I'm actually interested in (not those obscure ones that only you and your cat have ever heard of.) She is another one of those beauty bloggers whose opinion I really trust as she seems extremely honest in her posts and doesn't sugarcoat a bad product.

The Joys of Being Paige | Paige is one of my favorite bloggers as she constantly inspires me with each of her posts, and she produces content that surpasses that of many adult bloggers. She is an expert photographer, expert baker, and expert web designer. I mean really, this girl's got it all. Everything from her recipe posts to her tutorials are simple yet beautiful to make, and I can't wait to try some of them out.

Ugne & Co. | Ugne is another one of those bloggers who constantly inspires me as well. We are both seniors in high school living in the U.S,, so I love knowing that I have a fellow blogger friend who is going through the same things as me. Not only is her blog absolutely gorgeous, but she is also a gorgeous gal along with being one of the sweetest bloggers I know. She's working on a completely new blog, so I am so excited to see that!

What blogs could you not live without?

Also, leave your Instagram name below as I'm looking for some friends to follow! I made a new Instagram account for my blog @ahemitsemme if you wanted to keep up with me :-)


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A California Spring Lookbook | Winter into Spring

I am absolutely in love with photography, the whole process really. Whether it's finding the right angle, arranging items in an (attempted) artistic matter, or editing a whole batch of photos, I love it. However the majority of my time, I take pictures of inanimate objects: face creams, nail polish, blush, you name it. It feels great to get a good shot, but the rewarding feeling is short-lived and almost empty in a sense. Once in a while, I am fortunate enough to have my cousin/best friend visit (promise guys, I have other friends too.) We are the same age, so we have been able to live through every step of our lives together, although at times on opposite sides of the country. The lovely lady you see in all my fashion posts, including this one, is my cousin Nicole. She has a strong passion for fashion that began in elementary school, and for the past two years, I have been happily recruiting her as the "model" for my blog. Every time we shoot, I see her confidence grow in front of the camera and mine behind the camera. I love how easy it is to shoot with her as we know how to make it a fun experience. I comment on her awkward smile, and she comments on my even more awkward squats (in my defense, I am trying to get a good shot!) Thanks to her, she reminds me what photography is all about, telling a story in the most subtle ways.

For this first look, we put together an outfit that shows you how to transition your winter wardrobe into spring. Blacks make up the majority of both our closets, and there's no reason why you can't incorporate that into your spring attire. One prominent spring '15 trend is black and white, and it was seen on the runway from designers like DKNY, Public School, and Thakoon. The key is finding black and white clothing with interesting prints, textures, and silhouettes to elevate the look. Another widely spotted trend was shirtdresses. Designers like Altuzarra, Charlotte Ronson, and Rebecca Minkoff used twists like double high slits and drop waists to re-imagine this classic.

Shirtdress | thrifted
Tights | Victoria's Secret
Ankle Boots | DSW

I just made a new Instagram for my blog yesterday, so if you would like to find me I'm @ahemitsemme! Leave your Instagram names below, and I will go and stalk :-)

How do you transition your winter wardrobe into spring?


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Blogging Tips | How I Edit Pictures on Photoshop

Today I am inviting you along with me into my Photoshop lair! I am no Photoshop mastermind, tech genius, or anything along those lines, but a year working as the features assistant for my school's newspaper has taught me the basics of Photoshop. I use Photoshop CS5, and I extremely content with the wide variety of features offered that I don't feel the need to purchase the newest edition. Though I am using Photoshop, please know that I do not feel like it is a blogging necessity in any way. Most of the tools I use can be found on other free editing websites which I will be doing a post on very soon! I am still a newbie myself, so the tools I use are quite basic (and I may even be using some of them wrong, so please feel free to correct me!)


LEVELS | Image > Adjustments > Levels
One thing to note before we get started is that Photoshop ups the brightness, so keep that in mind when editing. In the dialog box, the black triangle stands for shadows, the grey for midtones, and the white for highlights. I felt that this photo needed a bit more shadow, and I really wanted to accentuate the highlights, so I moved the black arrow right to 22 and the white arrow left to 211. I really have no justification for how much I slide the arrows. I simply slid the triangles back and forth until I'm happy (so scientific right?)

BRIGHTNESS/CONTRASTImage > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast
Next, I upped the brightness to enhance the effect of the natural light as well as to brighten the color of the moisturizer. The Brightness tool works great for correcting the midtones without toying with clipping the lightest or darkest areas. I also increased contrast to "lighten the light areas and darken the dark areas." It helps to take out some of the "haziness" increasing brightness has put on my picture. A sharp image is one of my most sought after things, so increasing brightness alone can take away the clarity in the photo.

DODGE | Magnifying Glass (on left panel) > Dodge Tool
I like to use the Dodge Tool to lighten specific areas on my photo. What I did in this photo is probably "unethical" in the world of Photoshop, but I mean whatever works right? The criminal action that I took was increasing the exposure to 91%. One of the first things I learned when I started Photoshop was to keep Exposure at 3% when using the Dodge Tool. You will notice that the higher the exposure the whiter (and sometimes grainier) the applied areas will become. I did this for the sake of making the corner white as it stuck out to me like a sore thumb. If you are using the Dodge Tool to lighten anything that is not meant to be white, please, please, please keep it at a very low level (nothing greater than 5-10% in my opinion.)

WATERMARK | Brush (left panel) > Brush Tool > select your watermark in top panel 
I like to have a small watermark on the bottom right of my blog photos, just in case some sneaky people decided to use it without permission. If you would like a tutorial on how to create your own watermark, feel free to tell me in the comments, and I would be happy to create one for you guys.

What tools do you use to edit pictures on Photoshop? Please feel free to leave any suggestions on blogging tips posts that you would like me to do! 


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Day in the Life of an American High School Student

I was inspired to write this post after talking to Ling (The Cosmetic Critic) about how high school differs in Canada than in the U.S. I promise my life is not like the movies you see. For starters, my school has an outside campus. Most American high schools in movies are all inside with long hallways filled with those massive bright red lockers. Sorry to break it to you, but my locker is about a third (or less) of that size. Well, I hope you enjoy reading about a typical school day for me (literally to the minute), and I had lots of fun writing this as I have an odd obsession with scheduling (yes, I'm quite weird.)

6 A.M. | Rise and shine! And no, I am not a morning person.
7 A.M. | I have AP Literature (basically English on steroids) for zero period. However, conversations about the Bachelor with my teacher every Tuesday makes it a bit better. (I am actually one of the minority who start at 7, since I prefer getting out earlier, but most high schools in the U.S. start at 8.)
8:01 A.M. | AP Calculus BC...I am not a fan of math at all, so this is quite a toughie to take in so early in the morning.
9:03 A.M. | This period is lovely as I get to be a T.A. (teacher's aid) for my grade level counselor, so I either run slips to to classrooms to call kids out to see her, scroll through Twitter, or do some last minute studying.
9:59 A.M. | Brunch but not the fancy type. Students chow down on anything from a chocolate chip cookie to cheese pizza and a hash brown.
10:14 A.M. | AP Psychology is my one of my favorite classes of the day as my teacher is super relaxed meaning we pretty much watch videos and eat snacks in her class. Psych itself is super interesting, and I find myself genuinely interested in the material.
11:16 A.M. | AP Micro Economics is quite a tough class, but the people in my class make lectures quite exciting.
12:16 P.M. | Lunch! The lunch at my school is not terrible, and for $2.75, it's quite a good deal. I love getting a spicy chicken wrap or a juicy, fresh-off-the-grill cheeseburger.
1:02 P.M. | My last "class" of the day is journalism (school newspaper.) Now that I'm an editor, I don't really have to do much in class, so I love chatting with my fellow editor friends and my adviser to end my school day.
2:00 P.M. | School's out. (During the fall, I have mock trial practice from 3 to 5:30, so I would still be a school at this time.)
2:30 P.M. | I like to relax for a bit when school is over, so I watch some Youtube videos and catch up on blog posts at this time. If it's Wednesday, you will find me taking/editing pictures and writing/publishing a post for my blog until about 5.
4:00 P.M. | Nap time!
5:00 P.M. | Homework begins, and I like to complete my homework in the order of my classes.
7:30 P.M. | Dinner
8:10 P.M. | Continue homework and study for tests if I have them the next day (this occasionally continues into the wee hours...midnight or later if I'm extremely overwhelmed with work)
9:30 P.M. | Shower
10:00 P.M. | I will proceed to either sit on the couch and watch my favorite TV shows if it's a Monday or Tuesday or snuggle into bed and watch Youtube videos/Korean dramas any other day of the week. This is my absolute favorite part of the day, and I think it's so important to have me time!
11:00 to 11:30 P.M. | I usually get carried away and have to force myself to power off my laptop at this time. Nighty night!

What is a normal school day like where you live?

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