Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ipsy & Sephora Play | July 2016

I can't believe I caved and re-subscribed to Ipsy...I honestly thought I would last longer, but I couldn't do it anymore. So since I have 2 monthly subscriptions again, I figured we could battle out the 2 each month and see which one is better. 


Both services are $10 and both include full and/or sample size products. Sephora has all high-end products and Ipsy has both high-end and drugstore. 

Also, I'm playing around with a new setup, and this is not the final result...but after filming 3 videos I did not want to mess with my setup, so it will be a work in progress for the next few videos, since I'm working on pre-filming! Hopefully you guys enjoy! 

To watch the showdown, please click HERE



Which bag won in your opinion? 


If you would like to subscribe to Ipsy, click here and if you would like to subscribe to the Sephora Play box, click here


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Monday, July 18, 2016

How To Grow Your Blog Without Spending Money

About a month ago, I talked about blog investments worth making, and there I mentioned that you do NOT have to spend money to help your blog grow. And you don't! So I'm here to share a few of the tips and tricks that helped MY blog grow, and hopefully will help yours too. 



One of the major things I noticed helped my blog jump start it's growth was giving a makeover. Now, updating your blog can cost money, but if you are creative and have some tech-y knowledge, perhaps you won't have to spend a dime! Now on to the free methods! 

Socialize
Commenting on other blogs is not only a great way to connect with other bloggers, but it also helps bring traffic and more comments to your blog because other bloggers are looking to grow their blogs as well. Now...my number one tip here is -- DON'T LEAVE GENERIC COMMENTS! As bloggers we want to know that out material is being read, so a genuine, thought out comment is always the best. 

Join Link-Ups 
Another method that will help bring traffic to your blog is by joining link-ups. There are TONS of link-ups out in the blog-osphere so it can get a bit overwhelming and time consuming, so pick a few link-ups that you are genuinely interested in joining, and don't forget to read the rules before adding your link! 

Collaborate 
Another great way to expose your blog is by collaborating with other bloggers! It's a great way to get to know other people, create connections and also grow your blog. I've collaborated with several bloggers and they have all turned into some of my best friends! I'm always looking to make friends and collaborate with others! 

Network
Staying active on social media is also key! My advice is to focus on one social media platform at a time. For instance, if you want to bring more traffic from your Twitter account, stay active, tweet frequently, re-tweet other bloggers, chit chat with others and promote your blog! 

Have Pretty Graphics
You don't have to have a fancy camera to take pretty pictures of the products you are talking about, TRUST ME!! It's all about the angles and lighting. I have been working my butt off to have more visually attractive content on my blog and I've noticed it's been paying off. So spend a few extra minutes on taking pictures and editing and see how much that will help. 

Socialize With You Audience 
Reply to your comments and connect with your audience. Follow other bloggers that are in your niche and comment on their content, follow them on their social media platforms...make your self known! If they see that you follow them and interact with them, not only does that increase your chances of them following your back and creating a relationship, but THEIR followers will also see you! 

There you have it, my 6 tips on how to grow your blog without spending money! I hope you found these helpful and I hope these help your blog grow as well. These tips helped my blog, but of course, they are are not guaranteed. You have to be willing to put in the work. 

If you found this helpful, please, click here to tweet!




What are some ways that your blog has grown without the use of money? Let's chat below! 


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Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday Favorites | Mid-July

Happy Friday, sweet friends! It's been awhile since I shared a few Friday Favorites, so that's what I'll be doing today! There's a bit of fashion, entertainment and a yummy drink! 

I hope you all have a wonderful and relaxing weekend! Anyone have any fun plans? 



Favorite Drink | Super basic here...but I'm IN LOVE with the famous #PinkDrink from Starbucks! The Shaken Berry Sangria Herbal Tea is really good too and I can't wait to try the Iced Coconut Milk Mocha Macchiato, it just sounds SO good! 

Favorite App | Speaking of Starbucks...how awesome is it that you can now order and pay from the app while you're on-the-go. It finds a Starbucks near you, you place your order, pay and just go in and pick up your drinks! Or you can use the drive-thru if there aren't many cars, and it even saves your previous orders so if you're in a hurry you can re-order the same thing. I love this feature (and have used it one to many times!)  

Favorite Purchase | I finally found a pair of white distressed jeans that I like and that fit good! I normally don't shop at JCP but my grandmother was in town visiting and had to go return a few things at the mall, so I took her and one of the places she wanted to go to was JcPenney. As she was trying on a few things I randomly came across these ankle pants and gave them a try...surprisingly, I loved them AND they were on sale and I found a coupon on the Retail Me Not app! #win

Favorite Movie | We like to have movie night every once in awhile during the week, so we went to Redbox and rented How To Be Single...you guys, it's HILARIOUS and I totally recommend it, my husband loved it too. 

Favorite Nail Product | I usually go for any brand nail polish remover, or whatever is on sale, so I had never tried the Cutex Advanced Revival Nail Polish Remover Pads. I recieved these in an Influenster box a while back and recently tried them out. You only need one pad, they are a decent size and they don't smell like usual nail polish remover, which is what I love about them. It's not something I'd use all the time, but these would be great to throw a few in your purse and travel bag for sure. 

ICYMI I started a new mini-series for makeup for beginners. In this video, I show you how to create a simple eyeshadow look step-by-step. 



PS - You still have a few days to enter for a chance to win the same whitening system I use to whiten my teeth, click here to see my results and enter


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I'm linking up with Lauren from Style Elixir, Amanda from Meet @ The Barre, and Erika from A Little Bit of Everything.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Makeup For Beginners | Eyeshadow

I often hear women say they don't wear eyeshadow because they don't know how to apply it or because they don't know what colors to combine together. I can relate, there was a point in time when I was just starting to use makeup and I had no idea what I was doing, but with a little bit of practice and patience, I was able to get the hang of it. 


With that said, I hope to begin a mini-series that is not just targeted for beginners, but also for those who may want to learn a bit more about makeup or may need a little refresher. 

I decided to kick this mini-series off with eyeshadows, since someone on my Facebook page requested it a while back. (I love getting requests!) This video is a bit longer (right under 20 minutes) so grab a snack and relax! 

To watch HOW TO apply eyeshadow, click HERE

I hope you find this video helpful and perhaps you learned a new thing or two. I will continue this mini-series with eyebrows, foundation and probably face brushes. If there is something in particular you would like to see, please let me know. 



Please share with your friends if you found this useful, click here to tweet!


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Monday, July 11, 2016

Media Kit 101 + FREE Checklist

If you've been blogging for a while, chances are you probably already have a killer media kit, or at least know about media kits. But when I first started out 3 years ago, I had no idea where to begin! First of all, I wasn't even sure in what direction I wanted to take my blog, so I asked myself if it was worth the time to create one? Well, I created one anyway. And let me tell you...it was a mess. It was 7 pages long, not cute and it didn't even include the proper information! 


Fast forward a couple of years, I finally decided it was time to take my blog to the next level! I was done being mediocre, I wanted more! So one of the first things I did was rebrand and shortly after, I created a legit media kit. So, you may be asking yourself, what in the world is a media kit? 

What Is A Media Kit?
A media kit for bloggers is pretty much a resume of your blog! It's your way of sharing your blog's accomplishments and your offerings to potential brands or partners. In other words, it's a way to sell yourself to brands! 

Why Do You Need One?
It shows brands that you're serious about your blog. And BEING serious and professional is something we definitely want to be when working with brands. After all, we want them to work with us! 

How To Create A Media Kit
It's actually quite simple, but I will say, it takes time...I took me about 2 days to complete mine. So be patient and get creative! You can use any type of editing program you own, Microsoft Word or even PicMonkey. 

What To Include In A Media Kit
I won't go into too much detail because I've included a FREE checklist for you guys! You always want to introduce yourself, share the statistics of your blog and social media, what you have to offer, and a short bio about your blog! 

Important Media Kit Tips
  • Update Frequently
    • I like to update mine at the very least every 2 months. If possible, I update it once a month with current stats, images, and testimonials. 
  • Be Honest
    • It can be super easy to add a few more digits to your statistics but DON'T do it...EVER! Brands have ways of finding out your analytics, so be honest! 
  • Keep It Handy
    • Save it where you can easily access it: on your files, a flash drive, DropBox or Google Drive. 

So I've covered the essentials of a media kit for you! I hope this has brought some clarity and helped motivate you to get started on creating one for your blog. If you still have NO idea on where to begin creating a media kit, here is a FREE template from Helene from Helene In Between...one of my favorite bloggers! 



PLEASE share this if you found it helpful, click here to TWEET!

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Friday, July 8, 2016

How Using A Planner Has Helped My Blog

In case you don't follow me over on my planner Instagram, you totally should, you may not know just how obsessed I am with planning! Now...I've ALWAYS been a planner, I've always had little to-do lists everywhere, but one essential that I was missing, was an ACTUAL planner! 


I've always purchased little planners at Target or Walmart, but I never actually used them. I would probably use the first month or two and then forget about them and move on to my to-do lists and sticky note system. What I'm trying to get at is that I am a very visual person...I like pretty things, I like to look at pretty things and I like to work on pretty things. So just jotting down things in a regular 'ole planner just wasn't cutting it for me. That's why cute notepads and colorful sticky notes did the job. 


But about a year ago or so, I happened to find out about a entire community of planner addicts...and I was immediately sucked in! I purchased my first ever Happy Planner and began my adventure as a planner. And that's when I realized that all along I just needed to get creative and decorate my planner in order to get good use out of it. I know it might sound ridiculous, but in all honesty, this is the first time that I have actually used a planner month after month consistently. I just purchased a new one, and hauled it here, because my old one was getting too thick and well let's be honest, I wanted a new one! LOL! 

So I wanted to share with you a few ways I have found that my planner has helped me STAY on track when blogging! These tips may not be for everyone, but I have found them to be so helpful...I hope you find at least one of these to help you too. 
  • This may sound super silly, but once I have scheduled a post in my planner, I hate having to use white-out or even just striking it because it looks ugly. Silly..I KNOW! So because of that, I actually get things done! I would much rather check it off as done, then have to re-schedule it. 
  • Decorating my planner gives me so much joy and helps clear my mind. So when I'm feeling overwhelmed, or perhaps uninspired, I decorate. I like to sit down at my desk with some music, a cup of iced coffee (or a venti #pinkdrink) and just get creative. Usually after I'm finished, sometimes even before, I feel relaxed and ready to tackle any blog duties!
  • To go kind of go along with that, decorating my planner also motivates me to actually use it and pre-plan things. I like to use motivational stickers in my planner to help give me that extra drive and in all honestly, pre-planning my posts or videos ahead of time is so much less stressful than having to worry about doing it all the night before. 
  • I've also found that if I block a few hours per week to take pictures, I get MORE done and I get to take my time and be creative with my set-ups! This alone has helped my blog tremendously! I also like to block some time off to respond to comments, emails and visit other blogs. 
  • Lastly, it holds me accountable! I have set it in my mind that if "it's in the planner, you MUST get it done!" And because of it, I tend to get things done days in advance...and I get to enjoy a little down time by catching up on my DVR'd shows or maybe even reward myself with a little shopping! ;) 
A few things about my current planner...I use the Happy Planner from Me And My Big Ideas. It is SO much more affordable, and so much cuter in my opinion, than the Erin Condren planners. It is an 18 month planner, the one I just started using, began in July 2016 and runs until December 2017. It is expandable, meaning you can purchase different extension packs, fitness, wedding planning, and simply add them to your planner! With that said, the pages are removable! You can easily remove the pages, write on them without having the annoying rings in the way and pop them back in place! 


It may sound like I'm being paid to talk about my planner...but trust me, Me And My Big Ideas has NO idea who I am...I'm just an extremely happy customer, who adores their products and wants to share them with EVERYONE! 

I hope this post has helped you in someway, by either motivating you to start planning on a notebook or planner, or by helping you decided what planner suits your lifestyle. 

Are you a planner? What's your favorite planner at the moment? 

Don't forget to follow me over on my planner Instagram and subscribe to my channel for planner related videos! 


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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

June 2016 Favorites

I'm still in shock that we are currently in JULY! Before I know it, it will be time for me to go back to work...but in the meantime, I will continue to enjoy my time off! 


Today's video is a SUPER short one, literally 5 minutes! I talk about my 5 go-to products during the month of June. I haven't been wearing makeup a whole lot, so I didn't have too much to say...let me know if you prefer shorter or longer videos?! 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH MY JUNE FAVORITES!



I hope you all are having a wonderful week! And don't forget to check out Friday's post...I have updated it with a GIVEAWAY! 

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*Lily's Life*
-It has been FOREVER since I have added a few extra tidbits! 
-I have been so busy with school that a few of my blog duties are falling short...
-Anyone else eating ALL the watermelon they can get their hands on! I sure am...at this rate I'm sure I'll be sick of watermelon by next week! ;)


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Linking up with Jessi from Jessi's Design and Jenn from Going the Distance for What's Hap-pinning Wednesday.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

How I Whiten My Teeth + GIVEAWAY

Teeth Whitening Cost
We all want a nice, white smile but most of us can't go a day without a cup (or 2) or coffee. And I'm sorry, but some days I HAVE to have more than one cup of coffee and it's the only thing that gets me through a long day, so that's one thing I can't say goodbye to. 

But thankfully, I have found a system that has worked so well on my super sensitive teeth! I recently noticed in a picture that my teeth were looking a little more yellow than usual...I even asked my brother, who is a dental assistant, what I could have done. Once he told me the price...I was immediately crossed that off my list. No way was I going to pay, over $500 to have a treatment done that was not guaranteed to last over a year. 


Alas, I gave up and thought I was going to have to live with yellow teeth for awhile. But then I came across Smile Brilliant, an at home affordable teeth whitening system! 

One of the reasons I knew I wanted to try this system...they send you CUSTOM fitted trays! So you know you are getting the best whitening you can get, in the comfort of your home! 

Smile Brilliant is a super easy system...you get your package in the mail, with easy step-by-step instructions on how to create your impressions. (Don't worry, if you mess up, they include extras.) Along with a pre-paid envelope to return your impressions, about 3-7 days later you get your custom trays delivered to your home. Once you have received them, you can start whitening your teeth that same day! It's that EASY!  

The whitening gel is super easy to apply to the trays, no fuss at all. This system also comes with some desensitizing gel. This is to be used AFTER whitening your teeth, to help re-hydrate them. This video will help explain the process a bit better as well. 

Now, I will be honest, I was extremely scared to try the whitening gel, I have the world's most sensitive teeth EVER! I'm not kidding you guys, I can't use just any mouthwash because it burns like fire! Anyway, I started off by doing 15 minute sessions, because of my sensitivity...and increased them to 30 minutes over a 2 week period. I didn't experience any sensitivity the first few days, it wasn't until later on that I experience some...but it was nothing painful, just slightly uncomfortable. Since then, I haven't had anymore. 


I'm in love with this system and have since then told my dental assistant brother and a few family members, they all want one now, especially after seeing my results. I saw results after 5 days! Yep, you read that right...5 days! The top picture is from March, hello YELLOW and the bottom picture is from a day ago. I began using this system mid-July, for about 2 weeks and these are my results! Amazing right!?! You can see many more before and afters, along with testimonials here

So...what do you use to get those pearly whites? Or have you looked into going to your dentist for a whitening treatment? Would you consider giving Smile Brilliant a try? 

EDIT: Smile Brilliant loved the response I received from my amazing readers and they are so kind and providing a GIVEAWAY to one of you guys! 

1 lucky winner will win: $139.95 of store credit which is equal to a set of Teeth Whitening Trays + 3 whitening gel syringes and 3 desensitizing gel syringes or the Teeth Whitening Trays + 6 whitening gel syringes! 

RULES: 
The giveaway will run for 2 weeks (ends on July 19th) 
Giveaway is international, but keep in mind that you will have to pay for the cost of shipping for sending the impressions.
Must USE this link to ENTER! 
--This giveaway has been provided from Smile Brilliant, and I am not responsible for shipping prize, damages, etc. 


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*Smile Brilliant provided me with a complimentary Whitening System Kit. The opinions I have shared about the system are my own and Smile Brilliant did not tell me what to say or how to say it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

June 2016 Sephora Play Box

This week is already flying by...you guys, is it just me or is this summer going by faster than most!? I feel like I haven't even done what I have been wanting to do and the days seem to go by faster and faster! To go along with that, I'm trying to get used to this new blogging schedule, I've noticed my pageviews have dropped SO much since changing my schedule...kind of brings me down a bit. But I enjoy it and I appreciate my loyal readers SO much. I wish I could give each and every one of you a huge hug! 


With the new schedule change, there will also be some changes to what I post on YouTube as well. I go a little more into detail in the video, so I hope you enjoy AND...if you have more time to spare, I have an EXTRA video up! It's all planner related! I'm a huge planner lover and wanted to share a few of the goodies I have picked up with you guys ASAP, in case you might be interested in purchasing. You know, things sell fast at Michael's! 


Thank you all for the love and support, thank you is NOT enough! Big hugs my friends, and I hope you all have a wonderful day! 

JUNE PLAY SEPHORA BOX

PLANNER HAUL


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Let's Be Friends! Find me on other social media sites!
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Linking up with Jessi from Jessi's Design and Jenn from Going the Distance for What's Hap-pinning Wednesday.
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