Monday, November 30, 2015

#LightsCameraCurrys

You know it's 2015, when you get invited to a food photography class. I practically jumped with excitement! Currys teamed up with Nikon (#lightscameracurrys) to bring on a photography class for us food crazy bloggers. Hosted in the Nikon Photo School near Oxford Street, I was well excited to learn a thing or two. Having been active with cameras for half of my life (that does sound impressive, but, then again, borrowing your mum's point and shoot camera at the age of 11 is nothing out of the ordinary), I went to the class quite confident with my current skill set, however I was eager to fill in the blanks in my knowledge. For instance, when it comes to technical stuff I know how to get most things done, but I don't know the logic behind it. I will read a tutorial online and learn the how, while ignoring the why. Learning the "why"  of it all will stimulate my independent learning and I will be able to actually understand why I am doing certain things on my camera.

The tutorials were based on Nikon camera settings, however the principles apply to any camera devices in general. For example, I had a moment of enlightenment when we were explained the different meanings of the manual modes on Nikon. Basically everything outside the "M A S P" on the control wheel is automatic, and works well, however it won't always give you the exact results you need. "P" stands for programmed and is basically automatic, but slightly better. If you want to progress, you can head over to "S", which stands for shutter speed. In this mode you can control the shutter speed depending on how much light you want to let into the lens (eg. 1/60). This mode is great for those water-flowing images you might have seen online! If you head over to "A", you will be able to control the aperture, which refers to the "background blur". I learned, however, that the correct term for this is bokeh, because blur just means that you have taken a picture while moving. Know the difference, duh *sassy emoji*. This mode automatically selects the shutter speed for you, so might not be ideal in all conditions. If you want to be one step closer to feeling like a pro, head over to "M" which means manual. In this mode you can control both the shutter speed (ie. light) and the aperture (amount of bokeh). I've been using this mode for a long time, but I didn't really know the logic behind it so I usually went through an eternity of trial and error until reaching the right settings, which was very frustrating. 

Something, that I think is fair to say, we ALL learned about is the white balance. Guys, learn this term and remember it forever. Before this workshop, I just accepted the fact that my camera couldn't function in the evening light indoors. Everything would come out very yellow. Basically if you couldn't afford a fancy and expensive camera, you are doomed when it comes to evening photos, right? Wrong! By adjusting the white balance, you can "fix" any odd colours that appear in your evening photos. The setting for this is located in different areas for most cameras, however the principle is the same - before your session, you point the camera to a white area and shoot. It will save the correct colour and thus adjust your next photos. Above you can see the difference!


This workshop also made me start thinking more about the composition of my food photos. While getting the correct light should be the main focus, it's important to think about the way you will display the items in the photo. It is crazy to think how much preparation actually goes into a photo! 


Here you can see us in action at the workshop! I think we were all so busy snapping away that we barely noticed we were being snapped too. Thank you so much to Currys, Nikon and Joe Blogs for the fantastic evening! 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Pochette de Janette


Receiving a subscription box (or in this case a pochette/pouch) in the mail is like a mini Christmas - the anticipation of finding out what you will find in your parcel almost brings you back to childhood. Who am I kidding, I still await my presents as eagerly as my 10 year old younger self did. Luxembourg's fashion magazine Janette delivers exactly this, month by month. Pochette de Janette mainly focuses on beauty products, but always adds an extra element in - be it a pair of museum tickets or an accessory. 




What I liked best about this package was the clear shift towards more eco-friendly products to minimize the environmental and health impacts caused by the cosmetics industry. Having recently watched Cowspiracy (documentary on animal agriculture), made me reevaluate the general footprint I am leaving on the planet. I've always been very conscious in avoiding animal products and recycling properly, but this really showed me the urgency of the general situation. For this reason, I absolutely loved the package. 

My favourite item by far was the vegan solid shampoo. I've been in an on-and-off (woah, try to say that out loud) relationship with shampoo for the past 3 years. I've done everything from "no-poo", to washing my hair almost daily. I have finally decided that I will continue using shampoo, but avoid anything from the drugstore. I'm also currently "training" my hair to be washed every 4-5 days (the struggle is real, guys). Being a big fan of Lush's solid shampoos, this Lamazuna solid shampoo came just in time. The lather took a while to build up, but once it was there it was marvellous. Definitely recommend! Don't forget to find a little tin for your solid shampoo. I simply used the one I had from Lush.


Needless to say, my sphinx kitten loved the pochette too. His favourite item was the Orange Blossom Face Mist by Doux Me. Their slogan spoke to me as soon as I saw it: "Welcome to all the women who refuse to choose between ethics, effectiveness and feminity!" That is literally my life! Trying to look decent, while consciously avoiding some of the biggest make-up brands out there. 

As with most beauty boxes, this one is really good value for money. You can get a single package for 18.50€, or you can also get a bundle of 4 or 9 packages here. Currently Pochette de Janette can reach readers in Luxembourg, France, Germany and Belgium. Anyone stuck for Christmas ideas? XO

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Faux Leather Fringe Skirt

Faux leather fringe skirt, Abercrombie & Fitch, Guildford fashion blogger
This outfit has been in my archive since September, apologies for the delay... I got this faux leather fringe skirt during the summer and it was probably my most worn item. I guess when I saw the words "vegan leather fringe skirt" on the Abercrombie & Fitch website, my heart skipped a beat. I've stopped buying leather, however I'm going to wear out all my previous leather items, because getting rid of them (and potentially having to replace them with non-leather things) would be wasteful. I'm not a big fan of cheap-looking leather alternatives, but this skirt is amazing quality and looks like the real thing. If you are ordering it from A&F, be careful with their sizing. I'm UK6-8 and I got the size 0 and it fits like a glove. I also found a really cute faux-suede skirt on Missguided, but otherwise there are a few options below if you want to browse some more. 

Today I went a little bit crazy with writing up posts for the blog, as I finally handed in this beast of a University assignment. It honestly felt like my brain got fried while writing it up. So now I have all this spare time and I can actually do some fun stuff! Tomorrow night I'm heading off to London as I've been invited to a food photography class at the Nikon Photo School. They even promised me vegan food, I am beyond excited! I will do my usual London routine, which means get off at Picadilly Circus - walk to Whole Foods and go crazy - walk to Nordic Bakery and buy Finnish snacks - walk to Carnaby - shop at Brandy Melville - walk to Oxford Circus to look at H&M and & Other Stories flagship stores on Regent street (although I rarely buy anything there, because it's cheaper when I visit my other half in Scandinavia). This is literally what I do in London every single time, but sometimes to spice things up, I do it the other way around. Hope you enjoy the photos and see you next time! XO


Zara shirt - A&F skirt - Vagabond boots (similar here & here) - UO hat (similar) - Pandora necklace

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

MADNESS AT H&M X BALMAIN PRESALE


Hey guys! It's quite unusual for me to post something literally the next day (I even have some summer outfits left to post - not sure if it's worth it anymore though? haha), but I had a 3.5h train journey back home from Brussels, and the novelty of being at the presale event of H&M x Balmain collab was something that gave me time and motivation to work on the post during my journey. 

The party was held at a secret location in Brussels, with occasional shuttle buses going back and forth until midnight. It turned out to be a massive factory style building from the inside, the afterparty venue had pink lights and a chandelier on the floor, which we thought was pretty cool! We were lucky to be on the first batch of shuttle buses, because if you check the mannequin photos before and after, you will see what the room looked like a mere 20-30 minutes later - even the mannequins were stripped. I did feel sorry for the people who arrived later!

We didn't go to the event with the intention to splash out (not that we really had a choice, being students and all), but it was exciting nevertheless. Girls were running from the shuttle bus to be the first to grab everything. People were walking around with more stuff than they could possibly carry, in order to go to a quiet corner and quickly try everything on. Although previously making fun of the black logo t-shirts that surely everyone will have, when me and Kaori saw some of them left midst all the empty rails, we ended up buying them haha. I still have my Alexander Wang x H&M black t-shirt from last year (even the tag is still on). Maybe make it a tradition? Haha.

The collection will be released tomorrow morning, in stores and online. I will probably still check it out online, however if it's anything like last year, I will probably spend an hour refreshing the page while trying to add things to my cart. I'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone else will be getting! Goodnight! <3



The embellishment was insane! This jacket was super heavy due to all its pearls and beading. Did you know that the heaviest item in the collection was the black and white dress (it was quickly sold out, so no photos) that contains 250,000 beads?! That is 250 THOUSAND pearls. Insane!








Veggie hotdog made of soya, it also contained golden hummus, popcorn and sesame seeds. Hands down the best hotdog I've ever had (I've only ever had a handful and that was ages ago, before I stopped eating meat). I really hope to recreate this at home!



Friday, October 23, 2015

MY EXPERIENCE WITH EYELASH EXTENSIONS

Hey guys! During the summer this year I started going to the salon for eyelash extensions - a process that has dramatically changed my make-up routine and has given me a lot more confidence. It's fair to say that it is an addicting process, mostly because the benefits of it save me a lot of time and effort. In this post I will try to summarize my experience with this procedure, and the ways it affected me and my daily routine. Hope you enjoy!

I decided to try eyelash extensions, because my natural lashes are really light colored and I always feel the need to apply lots of mascara before I go anywhere. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having light colored eyelashes, and not accentuating your eyelashes at at all, for that matter. It is simply a personal preference, as it is the feature I tend to focus on when I do my make-up. It gives me a confidence boost, so personally I can only see it as a good thing. I'm one of those people who would choose mascara, if I was only allowed one make-up item for the rest of my life!

Eyelash extensions before after
So far I have only done it twice and I have had no complications at all. I've seen scary stories floating around the internet, however I think it really depends on your beautician and their experience. I would recommend going to someone who has a good reputation and works in a good salon. Check their social media, online reviews and trust your intuition! The first time I got them done was in Latvia at Spray Tan Studio, and the second time I got them done in Vilar, Luxembourg. I have already been to Vilar before for a gelish nail treatment, and was excited to go back. 

Eyelash extensions before after

I went there with make-up free eyes, apart from some foundation around the area. Make sure you have clean eyelashes prior to treatment. The technician may choose to remove some of the foundation if there is too much, but it's not always the case. The treatment itself lasts about an hour and a half, or sometimes up to two hours. It really depends on the style of lashes (natural versus thick and glamorous) and also your natural lashes. For example it takes me a bit longer because my lashes are so light, that they are more difficult to miss, whereas with dark lashes you can easily catch them. Each eyelash is glued on separately to a natural lash. 

The first time I went for super thick lashes (see photo here), which took about 2 hours, because to achieve such a look literally every single eyelash had an extension on. This time I went for a more natural look, which took about an hour and forty minutes. I have to say that the first time my lashes were falling out very fast and they felt quite thick and hard - perhaps the cluster effect made them more prone to falling out quickly. As you can see, this time I started off with a more natural set, and my lashes have remained pretty much the same 3 weeks later. The "after" photo was taken about an hour after the procedure, without any mascara on my new lashes. 

Eyelash extensions before after
I do like to wear mascara almost daily, also in this "3 week update" photo. I simply think of my lash extensions as my own eyelashes. While they are a "better" version of my own lashes, I still like using mascara to make them thicker. You can see that the lashes are not as "regular" as they were 3 weeks ago, however in terms of thickness they still look really good. With my first set, that was thick and voluminous, every time I used mascara my lashes would fall out or become clumpy. For that reason I prefer the more natural look, because it's easier to work with. The lashes still fall out every now and then, but they integrate well with my own lashes too. Feel free to zoom into the photos to have a better look!

Here is a list of things and habits that I have had to adjust due to my eyelash extensions:

  • Using oil-free make-up remover around the eyes, because oil softens up the glue and will make them fall out a lot sooner. I like to use up ALL my skincare and make-up products, so at the moment I use an oil based remover on my face, and micellar water solution on my eyes. I usually soak the cotton pad really wet with the micellar water and then close my eye and keep the cotton pad on for about 10 seconds. If I have a lot of mascara on, I sometimes gently move it back and forth too. Then I clean the bit under my eyes as the previous action always gives me panda eyes haha. 
  • Sleeping without my beloved Wildfox sleeping mask (nostalgic insta-photo here) was a bit difficult at first, as I'm an extremely light sleeper. I absolutely love distancing myself from the world at night. However, the will to not destroy my brand new fab lashes was greater! I simply switched to sleeping with ear-plugs as surrounding sounds wake me up just as easily. Also, this was not an issue for me as I (usually) sleep straight, but falling asleep with your face on the pillow might dent the lashes or make them fall out quicker.
  • The gentle make-up removing process seems to stop me from experimenting with make-up or using eyeliner. Whenever I used liquid eyeliner, it would go between the lashes (as it would with my natural lashes too), but this meant I had to remove more make-up. If I wouldn't do it properly, I'd wake up with dry eyeliner bits on my eyes. Also, the look my extensions give my face makes me feel like I genuinely don't need much more. Having said all that, I want to stress that this is definitely a good thing, because I'm not compelled to spend money on make-up anymore. My current foundation will last me at least 2-3 more months, my brushes are still good for a very long time and if I use mascara, it's just a random one from my little collection. 
  • It becomes an addicting process, because I get used to my lashes always being perfect, so it's difficult to envision how it would be without them. When I look at my "before" photo, I feel inclined to keep doing them forever. I personally have not experienced any bad side effects. My natural lashes were still as long as they were before, when I removed my first set of lashes. Having the extensions didn't make my natural lashes fall out quicker. I also had a great experience while they were being applied, so I have literally had no complications during this process. But where to draw the line? I just know that at the moment I'm happy to forget about the line! 

All in all, having my lashes done has lowered my daily maintenance significantly and gives me a great feeling of confidence. They require maintenance and upkeep, however I would just say it's a different type of maintenance to your usual routine. In terms of price, I would say that for me it balances out the costs I would otherwise spend on make-up. I also think that the time and self-esteem I gained are invaluable benefits from this process. The lovely girls at Vilar salon in Luxembourg are currently doing a promotion where you can get your lashes done for 54EUR. That's a great price if you compare it to the £120 they charge you at the brow bar located at my job in UK. I think the main thing for price/quality is to do your research, because there are a lot of beauticians who are certified in this, so the prices will vary. The longevity of the extensions depends mostly on yourself. As each extension is glued onto a natural lash, it will fall out when the lash does. Your eyelashes have a typical lifecycle of around 2-3 months. The more careful you are with your new lashes, the longer they will stay! 

You can follow Vilar on Facebook to see any updates on current promotions that they are doing. If you have any questions on anything  I might have forgotten to add, don't hesitate to leave me a comment below! Hope you enjoyed. &hearts;

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

MISSING SUMMER

Guildford fashion blogger Kristiana Vasarina All white summer outfit Latvian fashion blogger Adidas all white superstars Oysho dress (out of stock but similar below), Adidas Superstars, Biba cross-body bag 

Hey guys! I can finally breathe again, as I've settled into my new flat for my final year at university. I also handed in my 10,000 word report, which, is fair to say, drained the life out of me. Somehow I had agreed to also work during this chaos, so my days were pretty crazy last week. This week university has finally started and I already had my first lectures. It definitely feels weird to be back, but I have to say that taking my placement year made me see things in perspective, and I am coming into the year feeling like I can just about tackle anything.

Speaking of tackling everything, I decided to give my blog a new design for my 22nd birthday two weeks ago. I'm not one of those people who will pay whatever amount for a design from Etsy that probably quite a few other bloggers use (nothing wrong with that, by the way). I've been occasionally working with HTML and CSS since I was 11, that is a whooping half of my life. While my knowledge is FAR from extensive, I have a logical understanding of what I'm doing, so paying someone for a design and having their name at the bottom of my page seemed like I was letting myself down. It took me 2 full days and a lot of patience, but I'm really proud of the design I've created. It's crazy how much work can go into the things that are less than obvious or even visible. 

Due to my blog break, I've got quite a few summer outfits that I have yet to publish - it feels extremely inappropriate to post them in October. Then again I'm crossing my fingers for a warm family getaway this autumn/winter. I was recently gifted the much hyped Olympus PEN E-PL7 camera - as soon as I get the lens I want, I will be posting more weather-appropriate outfits here too. But for now I hope you enjoy this summer outfit that we shot in my garden in Latvia! Adios!!! XO




Thursday, September 17, 2015

Hanneli Mustaparta Edition For Deichmann: 2 Ways

Luxembourg fashion blogger

You know you have found the right pair of shoes, when you wear them for 6 days in a row (that's a lot coming from someone who probably has more shoes than sense). Norwegian-born blogger and Vogue contributor Hanneli Mustaparta has teamed up with European shoe giant Deichmann for a limited edition capsule collection. The 10 pairs are available exclusively online, and your wallet will thank you, because the shoes come at a very sensible price. Whether you like chunky soles or want to feel like cinderella for the day, there is something to tickle everyone's fancy. 

In my first look, I tried to style the loafers in a fun and girly way. As a child, I thought that this type of shoe is something I would only see my grandfather wear (no offence, paps). Then again, as a child I also thought skinny jeans were an unforgivable faux-pas, and I never imagined myself wearing skirts that were longer than my knees. Look at me now. This look is my attempt to show that loafers can be fun, young and slightly rock 'n' roll. Or is that taking it a bit too far?

This pink Mango dress has been my summer essential and it's something I definitely want to keep wearing during the seasonal transition. On a chillier day, I'd just add a pair of opaque tights to this look, and swap the leather jacket to a black coat. 

Hanneli Mustaparta Deichmann loafers

I do love playing around with silhouettes and different styles, so for my second outfit I went for a more casual, almost androgynous look. It's a more classic way to style loafers, yet still not quite the less than inspiring 9-5 uniform I had envisioned as a little girl. The loafers are an incredibly easy but chic twist to an otherwise very classic outfit. I paired the shoes with my all-time fave ASOS denims and my new H&M Trend boyfriend jacket.



I wanted to try something different and got inspired by ASOS to create my own 360 rotating image to showcase the shoes from every angle. Personally I think loafers are an all-time classic and will never really go out of style. Sometimes the star shoe of the season is the one that unexpectedly works with a really diverse range of outfits, be it really girly or more serious. Other than the loafers, I already have my eyes on all three pairs of the ankle boots within the collection. Ankle boots, too, never go out of style - surely they are an investment?