Introducing: My Youtube Channel

Hey guys! I am so excited to announce that I have finally created my own Youtube channel!

I explained this a bit in my first video but starting a Youtube channel has been something that I have thought about doing for a few years now. I kept on putting it off thinking that the timing wasn’t right. But I finally decided to just go for it. I mean what a better time than during a pandemic when I don’t have a job lol.

So please subscribe to my channel that way you won’t miss any videos! I am also going to be posting different content than what’s on the blog so that way it’s not repetitive.

I also haven’t decided when I’m going to be posting since I don’t know how often I’ll be posting. Make sure you also follow my Instagram to keep up to date.

Anyways I’m just rambling at this point. But I’m just so excited!

(I’ll be back Friday with a real blog post)

xoxo

Lea

10 things I can’t live without

Hey guys! Today’s post is based on a video that I saw Allana Davison did a week ago. In her video she shared 10 random things that she can’t live without. I loved this idea because I have so many random favourites that I wanted to share with you guys but weren’t sure how or when to mention them. So here are 10 random things I can’t live without.

1. The Calm app

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Guys, I use this app every single day. For those who haven’t heard about this app, it’s a guided meditation app. Except I don’t use it to meditate, I listen to their sleep stories. They are mini audiobooks. The stories are written to induce sleep and the narrators speak in soft voices. They will put me to sleep within 15 minutes. If my mind is particularly active one night, they also have guided sleep meditations that do work.

I use this app almost every single night. The only time I don’t is if I’m sharing my bed or room with someone else (sleepovers, vacations, etc.). You do have to pay to access most of the stories, but the cost vs times used makes it totally worth it. I don’t know what I would do without this app.

2. Tazo Chai Tea Latte Concentrate

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If you are addicted to Starbucks chai tea like me, you need to get this. My friend who worked at Starbucks said that this is what they use in store, but the concentrate they use it a different amount than the one sold in-stores. So while it doesn’t taste exactly the same it’s very close. I make myself a latte probably every other day.

This concentrate is super simple to use. I just add milk and sometimes sugar and it’s ready to go. It’s good both hot and cold. It’s been a godsend during quarantine when I can’t get Starbucks all the time. I have purchased it at Walmart, Longos and Sobeys (for all my Canadians). But it also available on Amazon, just be careful because some retailers will overcharge for it.

3. My Sony Speaker

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I love listening to music – I have two things on this list related to music. I listen to music almost all the time. I prefer listening to music through a speaker than my headphones if I’m not in public/with other people. I find I can think better if I listen through a speaker and then I’m also not restricted by headphone cords (because I don’t own wireless headphones). Listening through a speaker allows me to do things better than with headphones. Portable speakers are also great because I can bring them to the beach or work.

I got my Sony XB30 Extra Bass Portable Bluetooth Speaker for Christmas about three years ago and it still works like brand new. It accidentally fell from on top of the fridge and one speaker got dented but it still works perfectly! It has some colour changing/flashing lights which can be annoying if they are in your peripheral but it’s fun for parties. I love my portable speaker and if mine broke I would immediately buy a new one.

4. Scented Candles

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I love scented candles. And being stuck at home during quarantine has just increased my love of candles. I find having a nicely scented candle just relaxes me and makes me enjoy my space so much more. I always have one burning if I’m in my room.

Even though I love candles, I have a very weak sense of smell so I need strongly scented candles. Bath and Body Works are some of my favourites. They don’t have a Canadian website though so I haven’t had any in a while. Indigo is a great place to get some candles and I’ve enjoyed many of theirs. Some small Canadian brands I have ordered from and enjoyed are Au Natural, Shy Wolf Candles and Natura Soy Candles.

5. Pop Sockets

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I know pop sockets aren’t new anyone, but I still get so many questions about mine from people in real life! Since I first put a pop socket on my phone about three-ish years now I haven’t taken it off. It has changed my life and I don’t think I could ever go back.

There are many reasons why I love my pop socket. It makes it easier to hold my phone. Now that I have an iPhone 8 Plus my phone is large and can be hard to hold. The pop socket just gives me something to anchor my hand better. It’s great for walking around and also lying down in bed. I am a klutz and have dropped my phone countless times, but having a pop socket has decreased that a bit. It also helps so much when taking photos. Because I have a better hold on my phone I can better stabilize my hand to take nice photos. The final reason why I love my pop socket is that it’s so fun to fidget with it. Sometimes my friends would borrow my phone just to fidget with my pop socket. I use it every day and I just love it.

6. Scrunchies

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I love my scrunchies. The only time I’ll use regular hair elastics is if I am wearing my hair in braids or I’m going in the water. I love scrunchies because they damage my hair less than hair elastics AND they are cute!

I’ve bought my scrunchies from a variety of places. I have some from Claire’s, Topshop and Forever 21. Some of my favourites are this six-pack that I got from Amazon. They are all of equal quality. I usually just pick what scrunchie I want to wear based on my outfit.

7. Apple Cider Vinegar

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I suffer from canker sores. I won’t go into details about them, but I’ve had them since I was a kid. When I’m stress or near my period I get a bunch and they can be super painful. People aren’t sure what causes them and they aren’t any cures. My mom read that apple cider vinegar can help and it is the best preventative measure I have found.

It works because canker sores are affected because of pH levels in your mouth, and apple cider vinegar can help regulate it. I take the Jamieson pills because it’s easier than taking the liquid version. This has made such a dramatic difference in my life. If I forget to take them for a couple of days I will get a few canker sores just like that. Now it hasn’t completely eradicated my canker sores. I still get a few if I am stressed. But it has made such a difference in my life. If you suffer from canker sores I highly recommend them.

8. Birkenstocks/Vikings

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Everyone has a favourite pair of shoes. These are mine. I’ve owned a pair of Birkenstocks or Vikings since I was 15/16. These are the best summer sandal. They are just super comfortable! If you don’t know what Birkenstocks are, they are a cork and rubber shoe that will conform to your foot as you wear it. The thick sole makes them super comfortable. I travelled and spend days at the CNE in these shoes and have had no problems.

I usually buy a new pair every two summers. Because they are cork if they get wet they deteriorate. I worked at an outdoor pool for four summers wearing these and got them wet accidentally quite a few times. Since I get them wet that’s why I have to buy them more frequently. But if you’re careful these shoes could probably last you quite a few years. I currently own a pair of Vikings. I’ve owned both and haven’t noticed a difference in quality. Vikings are cheaper so I recommend those.

9. Spotify Premium

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If you don’t have a Spotify premium account you are missing out! I think I’ve had it for almost four years now. I got premium within a month of downloading Spotify. I couldn’t stand the ads and not being able to skip songs.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love listening to music. I would say that I use this app every single day. It has a huge selection of music. But what I love about the app is the number of playlists. I get tired of listening to the same stuff all the time, so I like the ability to find and listen to new stuff all the time. My favourite is the #ThrowbackThursday playlist. It’s full of throwback songs (obviously) but it’s changed every week to reflect some theme. I always look forward to Thursdays and what songs are going to be on the playlist. Spotify has many different paid plans now from when I first got it, so I would recommend checking out the deals they have.

10. Notebooks

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I learn and remember things best when I write them out by hand. For that reason, I have many notebooks. I used notebooks when I was in school to write notes, to do research and to plan out assignments. The process of physically writing something by hand helps me remember it better. I also used notebooks to plan blog posts and do other random things like research trips. I always have a notebook near my desk.

When I was in university I always used the Five Star 5-Subject notebooks – you can get these from Staples. Now I usually buy my notebooks from Winners or Indigo. I prefer having large notebooks that are the size of a regular sheet of paper. I also like having coils on the side because it folds over nicer. Technology seems like an easy, obvious choice but sometimes it’s nice to put a pen to paper.

And those are the 10 random things I can’t live without. Let me know if you guys use any of these things or what some of your random favourites are!

xoxo

Lea

My Morning Routine

Hey guys! I know this is a classic Youtube video and I have also seen a bunch of videos on TikTok of people showing their morning routines. I decided to make a video myself and I writing this post to support that video. I just wanted to mention that I don’t do this morning routine every day. My mornings differ if I’m working out that morning or taking my dog on a walk. I always sleep in and eat breakfast as a family on the weekends. I would say I do this routine three days a week. Anyways I digress, let’s get into the routine.

So I set my alarm for 8 a.m. but I usually snooze it for a bit and then spend some time on my phone. I usually like to get out of bed at around 9 a.m.

I prefer to workout in the mornings because that’s when I have the most energy. If I workout in the afternoon or evening then I’m too tired to do anything else. I also just like to get it out of the way. I always work out before I eat because otherwise I find that I am lethargic during my workouts. I am currently doing Chloe Ting 25 Day Hourglass Challenge. I’m not doing this every day so it’s taking me a bit longer. I like doing programs or challenges because it gives me a goal and structure.

By the time I’ve finished my workout, I’m hungry and ready for breakfast. I like a variety of things for breakfast but one of my all-time favourites is avocado toast. I personally like to top mine with salt, pepper, everything-but-the-bagel seasoning, olive oil and balsamic vinegar glaze. I highly recommend everything-but-the-bagel seasoning. My mom made the mix for me so that’s what I use. I usually eat a piece of fruit with breakfast as well.

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I also read the newspaper – I know not a popular activity for young people to do. I had to read the Globe and Mail because of my program and the habit just stuck. It’s actually a habit that I am really happy that I picked up on. It’s actually incredible how much more up-to-date I am on global events. So many times I’ve had conversations with people about topics and I was able to contribute or even educate because I’ve read the paper. I have a paper copy just because my mom reads it too.

This might be weird but I always make a cup of tea before I shower. I like to drink it while I get ready and do my makeup after my shower. I make it before so it’s perfect temperature after I’m done my shower. I like to drink black or earl grey in the morning.

After breakfast, I shower. I’ve lined by my hair washing days with when I work out. After watching a few Youtubers go on Curly-Girl hair journeys, I have started to do a modified one myself. I am slowly replacing my hair products with sulphate and silicone-free options, and I am trying new techniques with my hair. I want to do some more research and experimentation, but expect a post about it sometime in the future.

Now that I have more time I have been doing face masks more! I usually cleanse my face in the shower and then apply a face mask depending on how my skin is feeling at the moment. I can always do a face mask collection if that is something you guys are interested in. Let me know in the comments!

While I do my mask I usually slather my body in lotion. My body skin is pretty dry so I always moisturize after showering. I’ve mentioned this before but I have pretty bad body acne as well. So I always use an acne cream and a moisturize meant for the face on my chest and shoulders. I like heavily perfumed body lotions for the rest of my body, but if I were to apply that to my chest and shoulder it would break me out. After applying my lotions I get dressed, wash off my mask and finish my hair.

Finally, I do my makeup! I know a lot of people aren’t wearing makeup at home during quarantine but I do it for two reasons. First, it’s because it helps bring some normalcy and routine to my days. My putting on makeup makes me feel less of a slob and more productive. And second I am usually testing out products for a post that I am working out. If I am not testing out products, I usually do something similar to my 5-minute makeup routine. After I am done my makeup I start doing whatever task I have planned for the day!

Now I do want to mention that by the time I am done it’s usually noon. I realize that I am lucky and privileged to be able to take all my mornings for myself. Since I am done school and currently looking for work, I have the luxury to take my time and do all of these. My heart goes out to all the people who are stressed and worried. And thank you to all the front line workers who are spending their mornings helping everyone out.

xoxo

Lea

How I Create My Blog Posts

Hello friends! Today’s post is a little different – I am sharing with you how I create my blog posts from start to finish. I thought this would be super helpful for anyone who is thinking of starting to blog, or anyone interested in the behind-the-scenes stuff of blogging. This post is actually for a class project, so that is why this post is not going up on Friday! Also a little life update: my school exams are starting this week, so I might not be posting regularly the next couple weeks. I always update when I am posting on my Instagram (@xoxoxoleelee), so make sure you check it out to keep up to date! Anyways, here are the six steps I take to create a blog post.

1. Research

I do a ton of research for this blog. I am constantly watching Youtube videos and scrolling through my Instagram feed looking for ideas. This includes looking for different products to try or different types of post to write. If you guys are interested, I could maybe write a post or just share on Instagram stories some of my favourite influencers.

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A look into my subscription feed on Youtube.

Along with Youtube and Instagram, I also read other people’s blogs as well. I am actually planning to completely re-vamp my blog this summer, so I am constantly looking at other blogs for inspiration on what I would like to change/add to my blog.

On average, I probably spend an hour or two every single day watching/reading/scrolling through social media. Now to be fair, I do thoroughly enjoy beauty and makeup content, so a lot of this is for entertainment as well.

2. Brainstorm

While I have a pretty good memory, I can’t remember all my ideas. So I create lists! I am an avid list maker, one of the many reasons why I enjoy having a bullet journal. I wrote a post last year about my bujo, but let me know if you want an updated post about this!

So I have two lists going on related to my blog. One is makeup/beauty products that I am interested in purchasing. Products generally make it onto this list after I have heard multiple good reviews about it OR it’s brand new and I am super intrigued. Whenever I go to purchase makeup, I always consult this list.

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My list for March

The second list is my blog idea list. Every month I will create a new list, moving any ideas from previous months that I have not written about yet. Whenever I get an idea, I add it to my list. Sometimes if I don’t have any ideas, I will sit down and look at my makeup collection to think of possible ideas. Another way I brainstorm is to look back at my past posts and see if there is anything I can update. For example, I try to do empties posts about once a season. So if it’s been a few months since I have done one, I will add it to my list.

3. Plan

Planning is a huge part of blogging. I don’t want to post two hauls in a row, that would be too repetitive. So I usually plan for a few weeks to a month ahead. My Boxycharm review always goes up on the last Friday of the month, which means that I have 3-4 other Fridays to plan beauty and makeup content for. Since I am still working my way up to posting twice a week, I only post on Tuesday sporadically or if I didn’t get the chance to post on Friday.

When planning I have to keep certain things in mind. First is what is going on in my personal life. For example, when I go away on vacation I try to have posts pre-written and scheduled. If I have exams I usually just take a break since I don’t have time to pre-write. I also like to look what time of the year it is. I like doing fun looks for different holidays, and I always do a Favourite Products of the Year post at the end of the year. I take all of these aspect into account when planning my content.

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A weekly plan from Feburary.

Finally, for each week I have a plan for my Instagram posts. I like to line up a post on Friday or Saturday to promote my post for that week. I will schedule the rest of my week around that post. For example, I don’t like to post two selfies in a row. So if I have two selfies that I want to post in a week, I create another post to put in between. Since I like to post between 2-4pm, I also have to keep in mind that some days I might not be able to post during that time. For example, on Tuesdays I have class till 4:30, so I don’t often have a chance to post that day.

Having a schedule/plan is helpful to make sure that I post consistently. I used to not plan and I would post all over the place. I would definitely recommend planning to anyone who wants to post more often.

4. Create Content

Now that I have an idea of what I want to post, I have to create the content for it. If I want to review products, I will make a conscious effort to try the products. If I am writing a first impressions post I will only take a day or two to test a product. If I am doing a full haul or review, I will give myself two weeks to try out products. If I don’t have to leave the house I don’t wear makeup, so it takes me a little longer sometimes to test products.

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My desk/vanity situation feat. Netflix

I often like to include a makeup look with my reviews, especially if I am testing out eye products. I don’t wear full glam every day, so I usually have to set aside an hour or two to do a look. I usually will do this in the evening, after I am finished doing homework for the night. I have my laptop with me and will watch either Youtube or Netflix as I do my makeup. After I am done I will take about a million photos haha. I personally feel like my photos can improve, but I will still share what I do for now. I turn the lights on my makeup mirror to act like a ring light. I generally take a combination of photos using both the front-facing and back-facing camera. The back-facing camera is definitely better quality, so I use that for close ups. I prefer using the front-facing camera for photos of my full face because I can more easily look at the camera, which I think makes the photos look more natural. The trick is to just take a bunch and then go through them at another time.

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Flatlay for my upcoming April Boxycharm post

The other type of photos I use are product flat lays. A flat lay is when a product is shot from directly above. This is the way I prefer to do product posts or swatches. I do all my flat lays on a bristol board that I covered with marble contact paper. I like the look of marble and it matches my blog banner. This past summer I used the marble table at my parents place, so to keep my feed looking clean and cohesive I made the backdrop.

For all my product shots I always shoot in natural day light. I haven’t figured out how to use fancy lighting, so this is just easier. Because my room doesn’t ever get direct sunlight, I can shoot at any time of the day really. I just make sure it’s not too overcast otherwise the photos look very cool toned.

I honestly don’t have a system for arranging my flat lays. I will generally stagger my products instead of having them perfectly straight, but that’s just personal preference. Sometimes it can be hard to shoot rounded items on a flat surface, so a little tip for you: I put a little bit of tissue down to help the products not move around! Then I take a bunch of photos, moving my camera around slightly or the products slight. Also to note: I shoot all my content on my iPhone 7. I don’t own a fancy camera, but I find that the back facing camera does a pretty good job!

Finally, before I post any photos or add them to my blog I edit them. For my selfies I do use Facetune, but not that much. I find that my selfies always turn out pretty yellow/warm toned, so I will go in and whiten my photos. If I have a really bad pimple or texture I will smooth it out, but that’s it for face editing. Then I go into Instagram and will edit the photos manually. Now it depends on the photo, but I generally increase brightness, turn down warmth, increase saturation, and change the highlights and shadows. Some people like to always use the same filter, but I find that editing my photos manually has the same effect.

Now that I have all my photos and ideas, it is time to write!

5. Write

Depending on the subject of the blog, I may or may not write a plan beforehand. Generally any of my blog posts that have numbered items, like this one, I will write a plan for. For my Boxycharm posts or any other product reviews I generally just follow from the photo I am attaching with the post.

My writing style has somewhat involved over the years, but I generally pretend that I am speaking to a friend as I write. This helps keep my tone conversational, since I am used to writing academically. A little funny story – so when write for school, I generally have to get rid of all contractions (like it’s and don’t) to sound more formal. I have gotten into the habit of not writing contractions when typing on my laptop, so whenever I write blog posts I often don’t use contractions. But since I want to sound conversational, I will literally go back and add conjunctions into my blog post hahaha!

Pretending that I’m speaking to a friend also helps me know what level of jargon to use. The beauty community, like any other community, has a ton of jargon that can be quite confusing. I try to stick to using basic jargon, and explaining/breaking down anything more complicated. I have actual thought of maybe doing a post breaking down a bunch of makeup/beauty community jargon – let me know if this is something you guys would be interested in!

I generally like to write posts quickly in one sitting, since I mainly use this blog as a way to practice my writing for future jobs. But I always make sure to edit my posts after. While I do like to use a conversational tone, I want my posts to make sense. It helps that I have a few friends who read my blog, so if a mistake does slip past me they usually let me know.

6. Post and Promote

After I have editing my post and adding my photos, it is time to schedule my posts. As you guys know, the majority of my posts go up on Friday at 3pm. Since I don’t have class on Fridays, I generally will write my posts in the morning and then schedule them for the afternoon. If I do have something going on that day, I will try and write the post the night before.

I also make sure to put tags on all my posts. Something I definitely want to add to my blog update is a way for people to search my posts using these tags. But for now, these tags help my content be searchable through search engines.

After my post goes live, I generally head over to Instagram and promote it there. I will do this by posting a photo on my feed and posting a story.

Finally, over the weekend I check back to reply to any comments. I will also look at the stats of my post to help me figure out if you guys liked the post or not. Stats helped me figure out Fridays were a good time to post! It is important to check these stats just in case things change.

And that is how I create a blog post from start to finish! I find it funny that I struggle to write 2000 words for a school essay but writing a 2000 word blog post was so easy haha! Thank you if you read through the whole post. I know this is a little different compared to my regular content, but let me know if you guys want to read about more behind-the-scenes stuff!

xoxo

Lea