Thursday, March 15, 2018

COAT: c/o Sincerely Sweet Boutique BERET: c/o Darling Distraction

These photos were taken on a crisp Wednesday afternoon - after a busy and slightly overwhelming past two weeks (but exciting and very rewarding!), I bundled up in my mint coat and took my little brother out to brunch. We visited a new (to us!) cafe nestled downtown and ended up sitting outside since inside was rather cramped - but just as we sat down, the sun burst through the grey clouds and shown down right on us! We had a very tranquil chat over a coffee (for me), hot chocolate (for him), lemon ice water, and an oversized waffle covered in banana, honey, and peanut butter we shared.

It was such a nice change of pace and truly very relaxing - I'm definitely going to have to take him out on more adventures soon!

How darling is this coat? I love the minty shade, faux fur collar, and there is even a little bow in the back - so darling! I paired it with an ice cream clutch and pink beret ❣

Photography Q & A

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

My interest in taking photos started when I was very young and was fueled by my fear of loss. In my mind, if I could capture a photo of something I loved, it was like I could keep part of it forever. This slowly turned into me starting Mermaidens and investing time and love into learning about photography to better document what I love!

Trying to navigate the photography industry was, and still is, overwhelming and intimidating. While I am very trepidatious to call myself a “photographer” (eep…), I have learned a lot over the past few years and I want to share any knowledge I can with you all! Whether it's with a dslr or iPhone, a snap of a posed model or a candid moment of your friend laughing - I believe everybody should be able to create art and document the important and beautiful things in their lives!

How to get started with photography and with what equipment/software? I know there’s lots of guides online but it’s overwhelming. - Wes
I will be speaking from the perspective of someone entirely self-taught. If you have the resources for classes, that’s definitely a great option, but for me that wasn’t possible.

Here's an actionable list of things you can do to "Start" your journey:

  • Ask yourself questions and try to narrow down what you want (Do you want a flip out screen? How much are you willing to spend? Etc.)
  • Google phrases like "best cameras under $600", "best lenses under $400" (depending on your budget), etc., to help you narrow things down
  • Find out what people you admire use (photographers and youtubers usually list or talk about their favorite equipment somewhere!)
  • Found a camera/product that sounds good? Cross reference everything - read and watch as many reviews as you can on that specific camera, software, or piece of equipment

    Once you have what you need - practice practice practice! Sometimes, trial and error is the best teacher, so let yourself have fun and experiment! Try not to get discouraged or be too hard on yourself at this point, you need to give yourself room to make mistakes so you can grow.

    What camera do you use? - Annie
    I have a Canon Mark II 7D and use a 18-135 and 50 mm f/1.8 lens interchangeably. I love this camera but there are definite pros and cons - I'm not sure if I'd recommend it for people trying to take self-portraits and it is definitely not a camera for beginners. I also use my pink Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 and an iPhone 7 - both of which I LOVE. iPhones really take amazing photos these days - I highly recommend using them to start out! I also have a Pentax ME which was a gift from my Grampy which I have yet to learn but really want to...

    How do you put a portfolio together? - Wes
    Take as many pictures as possible! Take pictures of your cat, both candids and posed photos of your friends/family members, a pretty street, an experimental self-portrait, the way the sun streams into your room - and then look at them all with a critical eye. Ask your friends which they like if you need to, and then compile your favorites. You can view my portfolio here as an example if you'd like.

    How do you take nice looking self portraits? I remember you posting an old vs. new self portrait of yours and the new one looked so much more professional! - Stefania
    Thank you so much! I genuinely love taking portraits and feel like I have made a lot of progress in the past few years taking them.

    1. Research Light
    Honestly, researching portrait lighting on Google and Youtube have been invaluable to me! I saved up for a ring light * and a lighting set and started playing around. Do you need both or either though? Absolutely not. Sitting in front of natural lighting (think open windows) is an amazing and free option - it’s just always cloudy where I live and since this is my job, buying some lights was an investment I (oh so slowly) had to make. Also, look into DIY or store bought reflectors!

    * I got this one which I love, some more expensive models come with customizable intensities of light however, and this one doesn’t which is a bit of a con!

    This video by Haze Films is a great example of what a difference light positioning can make.

    2. Angles
    Figure out what angles work best for you - take photos from every angle you can think of!

    3. Backgrounds
    Play attention to your background! Invest in a paper backdrop, set up a little space in your living space that looks cute, or at the very least, make sure no mess or clutter is visible behind you!

    In general, I also highly recommend Maya Washington's incredible Tech Talk series, which is an invaluable resource (go give her a follow and like her videos to give back for all her hard work)!

    Thanks for reading! Please send me any photos you take - I'd love to see them! Also, if you have any more questions feel free to comment and I'll try to answer in part two ♡
  • Spring Trends: Cherry Print

    Monday, February 19, 2018

    If may only be February, but my mind is already dreaming of Spring! Though I am not really known for dressing "seasonally" (this gal was wearing pastels in fall... cough), Springtime gives me the perfect excuse to dress in all my favorite things and I'm dreaming of daisies, cherry printed clothing, berets, ribbons, picnics, poetry books and too much blush. Luckily for me, brands seem to be on the same page and I keep finding the cutest cherry print or themed pieces! Here I rounded up some of my favorites...

    What spring trends and activities are you excited for?

    I'm wearing...
    Forever 21 top, Just Peachy beret *, NYX Powder Puff Lippie in Group Love *, NYX Rouge Cream Blush in Rose Petal and Wet n Wild The Princess Daiquiris blush

    Saint Valentine's

    Friday, February 16, 2018

    DRESS: ASOS, LOCKET: F21, SHOES: Charlotte Russe

    For Valentine's Day this year I attended a prom event at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (or OMSI), with OkCupid! I got to meet a few of you there and had fun looking at all the exhibits! I bought this pink sheer confection from ASOS for the occasion - I felt like a fluffy pink cloud and I can't get over how pretty these balloon sleeves are... swoon! I paired it with a romantic rose locket and some fluffy flats I scored at Charlotte Russe for only $5 :3

    On the way home from OMSI I stopped by a fast food restaurant and ended up snapping a few pictures of my outfit - how gorgeous is that neon sign? I'm a sucker for neon signs and diners with a retro vibe - it always reminds me of Twin Peaks!

    Meeting Amanda at the OMSI Event

    All in all, I'd say I had pretty great Valentine's Day - filled with hugs, giggles, french fries, and chocolates! What did you do this year?

    Weekend Roundup

    Sunday, February 11, 2018

    Love is in the air... my favorite holiday, Valentine's Day, is only three days away! This year, I will be attending the Promsi event in Portland with OkCupid, and am giving away four tickets to Mermaidens' readers! Enter the giveaway here - I hope to see you there! Do you have anything fun planned?

  • Lancôme just launched their new spring line filled with pastels, flowers and sweets - all my favorite things! I have serious heart eyes over this macaron shaped blush/blender duo!

  • One of my all time favorite designers, Hannah Kristina Metz, whose known for her unique motifs (eyes, tears, flowers) and dainty sheer fabrics - is having a sale on her Anne of Green Gables inspired collection!

  • I am so in love with Keiko Lynn's darling style and this ASOS dress she shared has been at the top of my wishlist since she shared it!

  • Sretsis has released their Spring/Summer 2018 collection and it has made all my spring dreams come true - floral, gingham and cherry prints in delicate, feminine fabrics and silhouettes. That said, Sretsis, please expand your line to include plus sizes!

  • Artist and designer extraordinaire Tuesday Bassen, has released a Valentine's Day inspired collection - I love this detachable collar!

  • This Chocolate Assortment Balloon Backdrop by Oh Happy Day is one of the cutest things I've ever seen...

    Hope you are all having a marvelous weekend! ♡

    Photo by Jimmy Marble, outtake from a shoot we did in Spring 2015

  • La Vie en rose

    Saturday, January 20, 2018

    DRESS: c/o Valfre (get 20% off your first Valfre order with the code "Kailey" 🌹)
    BERET: c/o Betty and Veronica COAT: Forever 21
    TIGHTS: c/o ModCloth (sold out, similar) SHOES: ASOS (sold out, similar one, two)

    Hold me close and hold me fast...

    Maybe it's because I'm looking so forward to spring, or maybe it's the rose themed makeup products I'm currently testing (look out for a blog post on that soon!) - but either way, I can't stop humming La Vie en rose! I also thought the term la vie en rose was an apropos way to describe this outfit - with romantic, dusty rose pinks and heart patterned tights, this look is also perfect for Valentine's Day! Then again, I rarely need an excuse for incorporating pink hues, ribbons, hearts, and pom-poms in my wardrobe...

    I took these on a rather freezing afternoon * outside an adorable pâtisserie ** and an older gentlemen remarked "I'm cold just looking at you!" 😂 In general I gravitate towards solid colored walls for ootd backgrounds, and while I still like them, I feel like my photos tend to come off a bit sterile and impersonal for this reason - and that is the opposite of what I want! I guess I was trying to make everything look "perfect" - and when you are surrounded by power lines, cars, and trash it makes it difficult - but I'm going to make an effort to challenge myself with new, more interesting locations. Please let me know your thoughts on this, I'd love to get your feedback!

    Hope you are having a lovely 2018 so far and I'll see you again soon ♡

    * Note the red fingertips
    ** Can you call a bakery that if it's not in France or Belgium...? Heh

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