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Spur Your Creativity With A Photography Hobby: Here’s How

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Spur Your Creativity With A Photography Hobby: Here’s How

In an effort to become a more wholesome and interesting person in the world around you, it’s likely that you’ll find the need to be creative as high on the list of new things to try. One of the most popular and easy to begin methods of doing so is to pick up a photography hobby. This is a discipline that is totally easy to begin, but incredibly difficult to master. What’s more is that because the art is so subjective in terms of what makes a good photograph, that learning more can be difficult and frustrating. But much like creative disciplines, such as writing, there is a “good” and a “bad” way to go about your practice. If you wish to write but can’t write in a way in which the people around you can interpret it, your years as a professional writer are likely numbered, if not nonexistent.

Luckily, there does exist solid methods for overcoming these difficulties relating to photography. Remember, beginning a creative discipline never demands that you are a master of the art. It simply demands that you try, keep pushing your comfort zone, and also attempt things that help you feel happy and sustained within the hobby. Because if you can’t do that, then why bother picking it up in the first place? The following tips will help you continue your newly found passion with a sense of interest and progression:

Anyone Can Start: Many people think that in order to begin photography you need to make a huge financial investment in the equipment. This is simply not true. Smartphones these days often have cameras capable of taking pictures in 4K and also come loaded with compositional lenses built into the software of the camera.

Of course, this is no substitute to a quality SLR camera with actual lenses, but it can help you start and get an idea for framing well. Taking pictures, no matter the device which is used is more of a matter of personal taste and ambition than what lenses you use. The effect is all that matters. It’s unlikely that while attending a photography gallery you’ll hear people complimenting the use of lenses. It’s usually the achieved effect which is the most important, so don’t feel stifled by a lack of equipment just yet, especially in the early days.

Study Skilled Photographers: Skilled photographers are a dime a dozen, so it’s worth looking at people who have managed to make it their career or working passion. For example, artists such as Peter Lik have crafted an interesting niche for themselves by taking stunning landscape photography, selling his work for millions. It’s important to understand just how great and motivational this can be. You should never be in photography for the profit motive, as you’re likely to be disappointed until you can truly call yourself a master of the craft. However, seeing the best examples around can help you feel inspired to truly dare to take the best shots awaiting you. See your life through the lens as these folks do, and you may even train your eye to take in the world around you much more perceptively.

A budding photographer worthy of fame and recognition may wait inside of you. But you’ll only know if you’re willing to practice and fail. Good luck!

Featured Image By: Pexels

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Face Mask Festivities: The Body Shop’s Honey & Oat Edition

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Face Mask Festivities: The Body Shop’s Honey & Oat Edition

Helloooo everyone and welcome to the final post in my Face Mask Festivities mini series! Today, we’re going to discuss one of my all time favorite masks – The Body Shop’s Honey & Oat. This mask literally smells good enough to eat and it leaves your skin looking peaches and cream perfection. What’s not to love? Take a looksee and let’s talk more:

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When I think of face masks, The Body Shop’s Honey & Oat is the first thing that comes to mind. This mask is my favorite because it’s so gentle. This is a bit contradictory because I usually tend to go for the more rough masks and exfoliaters because I like to feel it really working. But, I don’t know, when I think face masks I’m thinking about being at a spa and relaxing and the creamy texture of this mask just takes me there.

Not only does this mask feel amazing with its whipped consistency mixed with sudsy oats but the smell is simply to die for. You need only open the lid to catch a whiff of freshly made oatmeal combined with cream and a heaping dollop of honey. It really takes everything in my power to not take a finger full and give it a try. So imagine having to sit with this mask on for ten whole minutes when all you want to do is eat it! IT HURTS SO GOOD.

The best part about The Body Shop’s Honey & Oat mask, though? 1) It is SO easy to wash off. There are some masks that you really have to scrub to get off, but not this one. This mask seems to completely melt away as soon as warm water hits it, which makes for an even more lush experience since you don’t have to claw at your skin to get it off. And 2) Because of said easiness to wash off and the creamy texture of the mask, you’re left with a clean tub, instead of one that’s coated with mask residue. I’ll take it!

Doing this mini series was a lot of fun and, in my opinion, I saved the best for last. I do like the Lush and Charcoal mask from The Body Shop that I featured earlier in the week. However, the game changer with the Honey & Oat mask is the way your face feels after using it. When I washed this mask off, my skin felt nourished. It felt supple and soft rather than tight and dehydrated. The glow that radiated from me was from a mask that worked on my skin from the inside, rather than scrubbing at the surface to remove imperfections. This mask made me feel beautiful and it made me feel like I cared for myself while using it, and you really can’t beat that!

So there you have it, the finale to my Face Mask Festivities mini series with The Body Shop’s Honey & Oat mask! Out of the three masks that I wrote about, which one would you like to try? What do you look for in a face mask? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Face Mask Festivities: The Body Shop’s Himalayan Charcoal Edition

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Face Mask Festivities: The Body Shop’s Himalayan Charcoal Edition

Hi everyone and TGIF! Today we’re going to ring in more Face Mask Festivities by discussing The Body Shop’s Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask. This is one of the first face masks that I ever used and it holds a special place in my heart for that reason and the fact that it eliminates my pesky nose blackheads like no other. Take a look at some pics and let’s chat about this miracle mask further:

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^^^ So this mask admittedly looks pretty gross in the container and on my MUG, for that matter, but gosh darn it is it effective!

With five nose piercings, my honker is a freaking battleground of blackheads that pop up like landmines around my studs. This isn’t the biggest skin care problem one can have, and I realize that, but I know that they’re there and it really bothers me. Not only does my skin care perfectionism cause me to lightweight freak out over blemishes, but I’d prefer for my pierced up nose to stay clean and clear to prevent irritation and infection.

We all know that charcoal is the “it” thing in the skin care world, especially when it comes to drawing blemishes out and giving your pores a deep clean. That’s what made this mask an obvious choice for purchasing. After ONE USE of my TBS mask, there wasn’t a single blackhead left on my nose. Saying that I was ecstatic about this is an extreme understatement. After countless cleansers and scrubs, I found something that literally eliminated the problem within ten minutes. Amazing much?

My favorite thing about this mask is its smell. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it smells minty, but when you unscrew the container lid you get an instant waft of brisk freshness. Kind of like opening a new pack of gum but without that overpowering peppermint aroma. This mask feels cool on your skin so that combined with such a crisp scent definitely makes for an invigorating experience.

Despite all of the above rave reviews, there are some things that I dislike about this mask. For one, you really have to be careful about washing this mask off quickly. If you go over the ten minute limit even just slightly, the hydration in your skin seems to slip away in double time, leaving your skin feeling brittle and looking flushed. Not fun.

And, for pettiness’ sake, this mask is a big fat pain in the BOOTASH to clean up. I prefer to wash my masks off in the shower and the chunks of charcoal in the mask simply REFUSE to go down the drain. As soon as I shut the water off, there is face mask residue coating my tub, so you have to use a towel to wipe it all off. God forbid you just leave it there (Which I’ve totes done before – #lazygirlproblems), because the mask will dry and it will be a vicious cycle of the mask getting wet and then drying every time you shower. SMH.

Although there are some annoyances with this mask, I do recommend it for those looking for an effective charcoal product. My skin always seems to thank me for using it (If I’m quick enough to wash it off!) and saying bye-bye to blackheads is a blessing in itself!

So there you have it, the newest issue of Face Mask Festivities: The Body Shop’s Himalayan Charcoal Edition! Be sure to tune in on Sunday as I wrap this mini series up. What is your favorite product from The Body Shop? What is your favorite face mask to use? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Sarah Selfies

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Sarah Selfies

Hi everyone and happy Thursday! Since the last selfies that were seen on my blog featured yours truly with a blue face mask on and a fresh face, I thought I would post some pics that I’m a little more confident with to make up for it. Take a looksee and have a fabulous day! Much love. -Sarah

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^^^ #bluesteel

Face Mask Festivities: Lush’s Don’t Look At Me Edition

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Face Mask Festivities: Lush’s Don’t Look At Me Edition

Hi everyone and welcome to the first post of my Face Mask Festivities mini series! Today, I’ll be discussing one of Lush’s face masks called Don’t Look At Me. This is one of the first products that I bought from Lush and I enjoy it well enough. This is also the first beauty product I’ve ever owned that you have to refrigerate! Take a look at some product pics as well as some shots of yours truly and let’s discuss:

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Okay, first things first, just know that the pictures seen of me throughout these series are a rarity. Few pictures of me without makeup exist, let alone pictures of me with a face full of face mask! I always take a minute to admire the lovely people who post pics of themselves in their face masks because I think that it’s incredibly brave. So, I channeled every one of you and just did the damn thing! AYYYY.

Now, let’s talk about this here product made by KEVIN!! My first impression of using Lush’s Don’t Look At Me face mask, aside from the striking teal color, is the smell. This mask smells crisp and lemony and I love that because it’s incredibly invigorating. You know what else is invigorating? Applying a COLD face mask to your face!! Because this product needs to be refrigerated, it was a bit of a shock when it came to putting the mask on. But after a couple of minutes, the coldness dissipated and the fifteen minutes of having the mask on my face were extremely pleasant.

When it comes time to wash face masks off, I always do it in the shower. Washing anything off in the sink just leads to water water everywhere, and I am not about that life. Once the mask if off, I wash my face as usual and then I complete the process by wiping my face with micellar water, cleaning my piercings with witch hazel, and using a moisturizer with a thicker texture. For my moisturizer, I prefer to use Yes To Coconut’s hydrating souffle moisturizer to give my face a special treat after putting it through the skin care ringer.

I thought that this face mask was really refreshing and my skin definitely looked more radiant after using it – even in the not so great bathroom lighting! The initial cold of the refrigerated mask left my skin feeling tingly and fresh for the duration that I had it on. I liked the way that this product smells and I also appreciated how easy it was to get on and off of my skin because with some face masks it’s a total pain in the booty boo. I believe this mask was about twelve dollars, which I think is totally reasonable but I don’t want to get too attached to it because the nearest Lush to me is about forty minutes away. Despite that, I absolutely will be enjoying using up the rest of this face mask!

So there you have it, the first post of my Face Mask Festivities mini series, Lush’s Don’t Look At Me Edition! How do you like to pamper yourself? What is your favorite face mask to use? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Selfie Secrets

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Selfie Secrets
Hi everyone and TGIF! The day that selfies became a thing was the day that the internet changed forever. I bet you any money that you can’t scroll down the newsfeed of any of your preferred social media mediums without seeing at least one selfie in the process. And taking selfies? It’s a process. The selfie: AKA taking twenty minimum one hundred max pictures that, for all intensive purposes, look exactly the same yet so SO remarkably different.
Everyone has had those days when they’re really feeling themselves (ayyy!) but can’t take a good selfie to save their lives (booo!). It’s cruel and unusual and I’m just not going to stand for it. That’s why I’ve come up with a list of pro tips to keep your selfie game on point. No more bad selfie days for all!

Selfie Secrets

1) Find The Light: Okay, yeah I know I sound like Tyra Banks circa ANTM cycles 1-1 million but it’s so true. Half of the selfie struggle is finding good lighting and using it appropriately. That’s why I prefer to take a majority of my selfies outside or in a room where a lot of sunlight filters in.
So you’ve found the light – but are you really finding it? Lol, that sounds like some fake psychology mumbo jumbo but it’s a legitimate question. Finding the light isn’t just about taking a picture in good lighting. It’s more about angling your face so that the sunlight is smacking you right on your cheeks. While you’re having a selfie photo shoot, move your face in small motions until the lighting is just right (And I promise that you will know when that is.), and snap away you selfie queen.
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2) Chin Up: I can guarantee that a majority of the selfies that people take are deleted due to the illusion of a double chin. No one likes double chins. Okay, some people probably do. But, for the most part, a double chin is a major selfie faux pas. A killer selfie is all about the long, pretty neck, which can be easily achieved if you tilt your chin slightly upwards when you’re taking pictures. It’s going to feel unnatural, but your double chin days will be a thing of the past when you’re showing off your swan neck. Now, remember, chin up, shoulders back, and WERK. 
3) Smize: Okay, yeah I know I sound like Tyra Banks circa ANTM cycles 1-1 million but it’s so true. Dead eyes are a selfie no no. So, I want you to do an exercise with me. Go to the mirror and take a good hard look at yourself. Now, think about something happy and slightly sexy for that perfect “I have a secret” look in your eyes. A day in bed with Johnny Depp, perhaps? Hello! You should notice a visible difference in your face thanks to the newly found alertness and mischievous twinkle in your eyes. Thank you, Johnny Depp day dream!
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4) Quirky Cool: All selfies look the same. No matter who you are, from a super model to your average blogger (like me). It’s literally a picture of the camera on the flipped mode taking a shot of your mug. Cool. Now it’s up to you to make your pic unique so you don’t look like everyone else. When selfies first made their internet debut, a normal picture was just fine. But, now, standard selfies just don’t cut it anymore and absolutely nothing is worse than snapping a selfie only to have it be lost in the void of social media because it didn’t stand out.

Nowadays, selfies are more about fashion, quirk, and unlikely scenarios. Throw on a sassy Panama hat, tilt your sunglasses down your nose, and work like your life depends on it. And, bear in mind, that cool backgrounds are a must. What makes a background cool, you might ask? It literally could be anything – you just have to sell it. Take a selfie in front of a garbage can, label it with #ME, and watch the likes pour in. Be silly, be serious, be anything that you want, but for the love of all that is holy – be DIFFERENT.

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^^^ Being on top of the world is a pretty sweet background!

5) Give Me Face: Every selfie star has those little quirks that they do when they’re taking pics. Whether it be laughing out loud or giving duck face for days, find what expression works for your face and own it. I, personally, love an angular look. When I snap pictures I bite down on my jaw to give a more defined line. I also slightly suck in my cheeks to give the illusion of cheek bones to cut glass – but shh don’t tell! It’s a selfie secret! 😉
If you’re not keen on edgy cool but love a boho glow, inhale when the camera snaps for a “you just caught me picking flowers from the forbidden garden” face. Sounds silly? It is. But once you find that little quirk that works for you, your selfie game is about to change infinitely. Now, give me face, mother!
With these pro tips compliments of Lil Red, your next selfies are going to be so Instagram worthy that you’re not even going to be able to handle it. Just imagine what your followers are going to think! I taught you how to give face, but now, let Aura Frames teach you some tech savvy ways to up your selfie game even more in this infographic. Snap some gorgeous pics and snag yourself one of Aura Frame’s Digital Picture Frames for the perfect gift for your SO/parent/sister/friend or anyone else that likes looking at you!

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What are your tips and tricks for taking the perfect selfie? What is your preferred form of social media? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Bonus Tip: Always, ALWAYS include dogs in your selfies if you can!! My featured image photo can attest to that! 😉 ❤

U2 Concert!!!

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U2 Concert!!!

Hi everyone and happy Tuesday! Saturday, July 1st was a fantastic and wonderful day, because I got to see one of my favorite bands, U2, perform live for the second time. My Irish lads graced Cleveland, Ohio with their presence for their last concert in America for the 30th anniversary tour of The Joshua Tree and I was lucky enough to be there for it.

Honestly, saying that I felt euphoric that night is an understatement. There is nothing quite like seeing one of your all time favorite bands live. Like, you’re hearing them in person, actually seeing them with your own two eyes, and breathing in the air that they are. In CLEVELAND, OHIO?! Lol, it’s insane. I still can’t wrap my head around it, but it happened. U2 was so nice that I saw them twice and this tour was even more magical than the first.

Take a look at some pics and let’s discuss. BUT, bear in mind that my iPod camera sucks so some of them are pretty low quality. However, there are some awesome shots that my dad took with his camera thrown in for your viewing pleasure!

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^^^ Pics taken by yours truly!

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^^^ Pics taken by yours truly’s father!

Unfortunately, we don’t have any halfway decent photos of OneRepublic during their opening set. The sun was just beating down and naturally, it seemed to focus right in on our seating section, so snapping any type of pic that actually looked good was damn near impossible. Having said that, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed myself while they were performing. It’s not like I hate OneRepublic but it’s also not like I’m their number one fan, either. But, my god, do they sound good live. The lead singer was an excellent showman and they did a wonderful job of hyping up the crowd.

OneRepublic sounded the same, if not better than they do on their albums and it was nice having an opener who actually did a good job. Interpol opened for U2 during the 360 tour, which I attended, and they were abysmal at best. OneRepublic essentially performed a best of their radio hits compilation including “Apologize”, “Counting Stars”, and “Good Life”, which I thought was an incredibly smart move on their part. No one wants to see an opener play obscure songs that they can’t sing along to. Despite never listening to the radio, I still was able to sing along to all of their songs, which was a great way to lift my spirits even higher for when U2 took stage.

Am I OneRepublic’s biggest fan now? No. Not even close. But they really did put on a sublime opening act. They were charismatic and had great quips with the crowd, which is always fun. But, most importantly, they showed genuine talent and musical ability and that made listening to a band that is far from my favorite an utter delight.

Now, let’s get to U2 because I almost had a heart attack when a lone Larry Mullen appeared on stage, sat himself down at his drum set, and began pounding away the iconic beginning to “Sunday Bloody Sunday”. And when I say that I almost had a heart attack, I literally did. Hello. They just opened the show with my favorite song instead of with The Joshua Tree’s opener of “Where The Streets Have No Name”. I genuinely believed that I had died and gone to heaven.

“Sunday Bloody Sunday” was followed by “New Year’s Day”, which was another obvious crowd (and Sarah) pleaser. My god, it was just magnificent. After two back to back strong openers, the pace slowed down a little with “Bad” followed by “Pride (In The Name Of Love)”. Despite an almost abrupt feeling change of pace, it was pure U2 and they were so in their element that you couldn’t even be mad at them.

Now, up until the band began playing The Joshua Tree in its entirety, they were performing solely on the tree silhouette, which can be seen in the pictures above. But, the show didn’t even seem to begin until they made their way back onto the main stage and “Where The Streets Have No Name” started to play.

With the shift into U2 playing their 30th anniversary album, the infinitely long screen backing the stage turned into the background for videos specially designed for each song. With every hit you were transported into videos that told stories of the land, war, poverty, agony, love, and pride. From ordinary citizens placing an army helmet on their heads to strong and stoic Native Americans gently guarding their homeland, you got the sense of what the songs on The Joshua Tree were originally written for and what they mean to the band now in a time of such political and emotional turmoil.

Throughout the show, you could tell how much the band genuinely enjoyed bringing this album back to life. A light-spirited Bono playfully called his whole band sexy as well as the entire city of Cleveland (ayyy!) and halfway through The Joshua Tree set he graciously took a moment to welcome us to the second half of the album. What a guy, what a guy, what a heck of a guy.

It was funny hearing The Joshua Tree live, because you often forget about that almost country twang that the second half of the album brings. This was even more emphasized with videos of a skinny jeaned and denim button down clad woman painting an American flag on an abandoned home. She then showed off her lassoing skills in a red, white, and blue bikini top. Mama Mia!

After The Joshua Tree set ended with “Mothers Of The Disappeared” that came with a powerful backdrop of children holding candles that eventually blew out, we were invited by Bono to “stick around” for their encore. You would have been a fool not to. The encore was a fun, upbeat party to some of their most well known hits, which included “Elevation”, “Vertigo”, “Mysterious Ways”, and my all time favorite – “Beautiful Day”. You guys already know how much that song means to me, so yes, the water works were definitely flowing at their hardest then!! (I have no shame in admitting that I cried like a baby for a majority of the concert – I really just can’t help myself!)

U2’s encore ended with a gorgeous performance of “One” to draw a perfect night to a close. Guys – it really was perfect. I can’t explain to you how special it was to see the band that is so loved by my entire family while standing side by side with them in the stands. I consider myself so lucky that I have gotten to see U2 not once but twice now at 23 and both shows would literally have to be pried from my memory banks to be forgotten.

So there you have it, my experience at the U2 Concert!!! What shows have you seen recently? Who is attending any music festivals this summer? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah