Tag Archives: creativity

Semester Reflections

Habits for Contentment Is a website that started as a hope I had for the semester. During the pandemic, I had been feeling everything but content, and I wanted to use this blog as an opportunity to build healthy habits into my life. This essay will cover why I created this blog, and what I have learned over the course of the semester.

What is it about and who is it for?

Habits for Contentment is all about building healthy habits into your everyday life. This is demonstrated through blog posts about thankfulness, generosity, staying active or building a morning routine. While this blog can be for anyone that is looking for ways to find peace during the pandemic, it is mainly for students who are also struggling through the hardships of completing a semester online.

One blog I have taken inspiration from is Andi Anne. She writes about nutrition, health, and messy stories from motherhood. I love this website because of its neutral tonal pallet and clean organization. She creates a sense of order in an occasionally chaotic cyberspace. In my website, I hope to use a similar sense of design and layout to engage with my audience. Check out her blog here.

Who is your public image?

The public image I am hoping to create is one that values vulnerability and honesty. One resource I used when I was first building my public image was Creating your Online Persona by Jack Canfield (n.d.). Canfield talks about how first you must decide who you are, then you can begin building your website and advancing your brand with content (n.d.). This article helped me to focus on understanding who I am as a writer and then decide what to post and how to present myself.

I want to use my blog posts to explore new ways of finding contentment in my life, but I do not want to paint an unrealistic picture of myself having a perfectly content life. I will share the success I have in running and painting, but I will also share my frustrations when I sleep through my alarm or cheat on my morning routine. I want to create a public image that is relatable, accessible, and joyful.  

Something I want to try and counter in my writing is the Online Disinhibition Effect which describes how when there is anonymity, people are more likely to shed their usual restraints or integrity (Konnikova, 2013). This can promote engagement and risk taking, but in my website, I want to promote honesty and vulnerability, so I hope to create a different style of engagement with my audience.

This infographic I created talks more deeply about the values of Habits for Contentment. The core values I want to represent through this blog are people centered, vulnerable, honest, and fun loving. Read more about my values here.

How are you addressing your audience through editorial, design, content?

Once I had decided on the purpose of my blog and the online image I wanted to portray, I put together a vision board to help guide my posts, design choice and voice. Take a look at my vision board here.

I want to capture a feeling in my vision board. I want readers to look at my website and feel a sigh of relief like when you take a refreshing walk outside or see a beautiful sunset. My goal is to create a blissful feeling throughout my entire blog.  On my homepage I do this by using a clean font and leaving lots of white space. Additionally, I have a picture of wildflowers as a banner on every page of my website to begin curating a feeling of refreshment and peace. My colour pallet has deep greens to symbolize trees with deep root and consistent growth and includes some light pinks to symbolize fun and curiosity.

This article published by Blogging Explorer discussed the importance of understanding your target audience and how to cater your content online (Mikke, 2020). Two points he made were about how your target audience will help you create better content, and have great post ideas (Mikke, 2020). Understanding your audience will help you to know their needs and desires, and understand what they might be looking for in their digital content. This will help to increase reader engagement and build my audience.

One blog post that highlights the purpose and design of my website is Being Thankful for Rain. In this blog post I wrote about how being thankful for the small things in your life can help you to get through hard days. Making thankfulness lists is one way I try to find contentment in my life and is reiterated throughout almost all my blog posts. The design of this post incorporates lots of white space separated by curated pictures that I took of a recent thankfulness list I had made. Being Thankful for Rain is a post that highlights the values of my blog and captures the design aesthetic I hope to maintain throughout my website.

What value are you providing and to whom?

My hope is that through these blog posts I can provide value by offering practical tips and advice on how to live with contentment and joy amidst a pandemic. Some blog posts that do this are 5 Reasons to Try Running and Morning Mishaps & Daily Routines. Both blog posts offer a glimpse into one habit I have tried to implement in my life, and some practical ways they could be applied to my readers lives. Both posts contain external research into how these habits have been proven to improve your health or decrease stress levels.

In the future, I may build monetizing features into my posts such as product promotions or specific collaborations with other bloggers, but these must be directly relevant to my core values and not be misleading to my readers.

What have you learned through Google Analytics?

Google Analytics has been a very fun tool to learn how people are interacting with my website. The most helpful thing I learned was that I had a very high bounce rate, meaning that people would quickly leave my website after visiting the first page. As I was investigating this, I noticed that my home page did not give the reader somewhere to go after reading the introduction. To address this, I linked some of my favourite blog posts to my home page, and my bounce rate has decreased by 15%. There is still lots to learn from Google Analytics, and I have so much to benefit from understanding my audience more and learning how people are interacting with my blog.

Blogging has been an incredible experience in learning about writing, creativity and finding contentment during a pandemic. I look forward to continuing this blog in the future and building my brand image.

Works Cited

Anne, A. (2020, December 02). Andi Anne: About. Retrieved December 04, 2020, from https://andianne.com/about/

Campbell, G. (2009). A Personal Cyberinfrastructure. Retrieved December 04, 2020, from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2009/9/a-personal-cyberinfrastructure

Canfield, J. (2019, November 26). Online Branding: 5 Steps to Create Your Online Persona. Retrieved December 04, 2020, from https://www.jackcanfield.com/blog/online-branding/

Konnikova, M. (2013). The Psychology of Online Comments. Retrieved December 04, 2020, from https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/the-psychology-of-online-comments

Mikke. (2020, July 24). How to Find Your Blog Target Audience in 2020: The Ultimate Guide. Retrieved December 04, 2020, from https://bloggingexplorer.com/blog-target-audience/

Not a Goodbye, but a See You Later

Recently, there has been a whole lot of controversy surrounding the topic of going outdoors and meeting up with friends as we’ve all been encouraged to socially distance ourselves. Up until this week, I’ve been shooting up to three times a week with different local photographers, however I’ve decided to switch up my fast paced lifestyle and start slowing it down. At first, I didn’t see much of an issue with shooting as I’m not in close contact with my photographers, but with the vast amount of time I spend on transit going to and from shoots, I decided to rethink my weekly shooting routine.

Since SFU got shut down on March Friday 13th (quite ironic if you’re the superstitious type), all of my creative projects have come to a screeching halt. As I’ve been focusing primarily on photo shoots in the past few weeks, I’ve decided that I will also be self-isolating and reverting back to working on videos as that’s something I’m able to do from the confines of my dorm room. 

I walked into my last shoot on March 19th, on the SFU Burnaby campus (one of my favourite places to shoot!). I was shooting at golden hour with Nicolas Scott (@nicolasscott_), a photographer whom I’ve worked with on numerous occasions for his clothing line, Call the Girls Co, as well as our most recent Calvin Klein studio session. We kept our distance and shot as we normally would, but as we walked around the AQ pond, I felt a sense of emptiness wash over myself. The place was absolutely dead, so much so that you could hear the drop of a pin. Although it was my last scheduled shoot, without seeing other people around me, it really made me feel as if I shouldn’t be outside, or if I was doing something wrong even though Nic and I were far more than 2 meters apart at all times.

We wrapped up just after the sun had set on the top floor of the visitors parade. We said our goodbyes and I walked off into the milky sunset making my way back to Shell House. Although I was completely bummed out to be putting a stop to my modelling career, I tried to look at the positives of all of this- that I would be able to really start growing my brand and putting more work into marketing and management as well as producing YouTube and Tik Tok videos. Walking off into the beautiful blending of colours in the sky reminded me that now was the time to think outside of the box and really take this time to reflect and think about alternative methods to create. 

This is not the end, rather it’s the beginning of a new form of creativity. I can’t wait to show you what I come up with!

90s Makeup Inspired Look

Picture showing a dark contoured eye shadow look with a pale pink nude lip

As a baby born in the late 1990s, I missed the makeup trend of that era. However, revamped 90s makeup has been in style lately. While I’ve never been much one for trends, I have been quite intrigued by many of the styles coming forward with this era focus. So I thought up this contoured eye withe  nude lip and just went for it!

My style tends to embody the bold and the badass. With my makeup being the main style point in my daily repertoire I love exploring different avenues for expressing my inner badass woman. Being bold doesn’t always have to mean bright colors, sparkles, or all the shades of darkness. This week I decided to try a contoured, 90s inspired matte eye look paired with a pale nude lip. The winged liner and darkened waterline brought in some of my signature style and added in the 2017 wist to the look. While it’s a very different look from the last one I posted it still made me feel powerful and proud.

This look posed a few challenges I don’t typically encounter. For one, the blending had to be so much smoother then usual. With the center of the lid being almost nude and highlighted, any harsh lines or messy application of the darker shadows would be glaringly obvious. The key to contouring my eyes is blending. The liner also needed to be flawless because there was less shadow to hide mistakes with. There can be no gaps in the line, no smudges, and a perfect line. Any mistakes would be too obvious with no way to hide. However, mastery of the eyes meant the look should go off without a hitch!

To learn more about how I created this look you can see a list of products and read a bit about the process below:

The Products

-The Base:

Primer: First Aid Beauty Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer

Applied with my hands

Foundation: Estée Launder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in 1C1 Cool Bone

Applied with my Sigma F88 Flat Angled Kabuki Brush

Powder: Makeup Forever Ultra HD Microfinishing Loose Powder in Color 1 Translucent

Applied with a Makeup Forever 130 Large Powder Brush

-The Eyes and Brows

Primer: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Original with some loose powder to set (from the base)

Applied with Fingers

Eyebrows: Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel in Color 03 Medium

Applied with Product Applicator

Eyeshadows (in the order applied): Kat Von D Shade + Light Eye Contour Palette

-Saleos in the Crease

Applied with Sephora Collection Pro Blending Brush #27

-Shax in the Outer V

Applied with Zoeva 231 Luxe Petite Crease Brush

Blended with Sigma E40 Tapered Blending Brush

-Lazarus across the the Lid

Applied with Zoeva 232 Luxe Classic Shader

-Liberatus in the Inner Corner and to Highlight the Brow Bone

Applied with Sigma E25 Blending Brush

Upper Eyeliner: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper

Applied with Product Applicator

Lower Eyeliner: Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Crayon Eyeliner in Blacquer 42

Applied with Product Applicator

Mascara: Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara in Black

Applied with Product Applicator

-The Face

Contour: Kat Von D Shade + Light Face Contour Refillable Palette in Sombre

Applied with Zoeva 127 Sheer Cheek Brush

Bronzer: Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Kit (Light/Medium) Bronzer Shade

Applied with Sephora Collection Pro Contour Brush #79

Highlight: Kat Von D Shade + Light Face Contour Refillable Palette in Lucid

Applied with Sigma F03 High Cheekbone Highlighter Brush

Blush: Tarte Rainforest After Dark Palette in Unleashed

Applied with Sigma F50 Duo Fibre Brush

-The Lips

Primer: Bite Beauty Line and Define Primer

Applied with Product Applicator

Lipstick: Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Cava

Applied with Product Applicator

 

A Bit About The Process

While I may not have wanted to go to class today the prospect of some me time with my makeup helped pull me out of bed to get ready for the day. Despite feeling grumpy I knew rocking a great makeup look would make help me have a better day. So to start I ran through my morning skincare routine as per usual then applied my new primer! My skin has been much happier and makeup application has been much smoother since starting to use my new primer. If you want some more in depth information about this product I wrote a review you should check out!

After my primer sets on my skin, I use my flat kabuki brush from sigma to apply my foundation. The double wear foundation from Estée Lauder has a very full coverage and sets matte on my skin. I find this optimal for the base of a look. Then I quickly brush some translucent powder across my face and move forward to my eyes and brows!

The eyes are the best part of this look but also the most challenging. I started by applying my primer with a light layer of translucent powder to my eyes before doing my eyebrows while the primer sets. Having inherited my dad’s bushy Indian eyebrows my brows are pretty easy to do. A few quick swipes of a pigmented brown gel and I’m done!

Now that the eyeshadow primer has set it’s time to begin the process of eyeshadow! The first step is to slowly start building the crease color with Saleos from the Kat Von D palette. For this look to work, I built the eyeshadows slowly together and spent a lot of time on blending. I used a fluffy brush to pick up some shadow and knocked the fallout off (as one always should). Then I lightly feathered it through my crease. I continued repeating this process until I was happy with the crease shade. Then I picked up a tapered blending brush and picked up the shade Shax. This is where things could have gone wrong. The goal with this dark color was to actually create the shape for my eye. I started at the very outer corner of my eye and began building the color. I slowly but surely was able to create a V shape in the outer v of my eye. Using a clean blending brush I softened any hard edges and and ensured the shades were blended together well. Next I used a shader brush to pack Lazarus across the rest of my lid. This neutral base shade created a nice highlighted effect across the lid which opened up the eye shape nicely. The final step was to use a fluffy brush to highlight the inner corner of my eyes and brow bone with Liberatus.

With my eyeshadows coming off better then expected I moved on to eyeliner and mascara, two things no makeup look is complete without in my book. Creating a line from the direction of my lower waterline, I drew on the lower line of the wing. I took it out pretty far knowing I wanted to go for a dramatic wing. Then I switched the angle of the eyeliner pen and drew the upper line in towards my eye. Then I proceeded to carefully fill in my liner and much to my excitement it went off without a hitch! What can I say miracles do happen! Next: my waterline. To line my waterline I use a gel crayon liner. I find it goes on easier then a pencil because of its gel consistency. To avoid pulling harshly on my eyes I press my index finger against my lower lash line instead. This tends to roll the waterline out without the pulling effect. Then I run the gel along my waterline. I know many people will argue fully lining your waterline with black closes your eyes off but I love the way it looks so I do it anyways. A few swipes of mascara on my upper and lower lashes and boom eyes finalized!

For the face I start with contouring. I’ve recently picked up the Kat Von D contour palette and have been experimenting with it. The shade Sombre is an excellent contour shade for me. With sombre contoured under my cheekbones, under my jaw, and above my forehead, I move to bronzer. The middle shade of the Smashbox step-by-step palette is excellent for bronzing in fall as my face still has some color left from summer. I swipe the shade across my forehead, the back third of my cheekbone, along my jaw, my chin, and on my nose. Filled with joy and the return of color to my skin I move forward to blush. Using a stippling brush, I dot unleashed across the apples of my cheeks. Finally, I highlight my cheekbones and just around my temples.

Finally, we finish off this look with the lips. Having moisturized them before starting my makeup, I apply my lip primer all over my lips and let it set. Then I use my pale pink nude Bite Beauty lipstick in Cava to put the final touch of the look. I run the lipstick across my lower lip then create an X across my cupids bow to set up the upper lip lines. Using the peak of the cupids bow as a guide I apply the color to my upper lip and smile proudly at my creation.

And thats how I created this look! What sort of 90s makeup looks have you tried? If you have any questions or comments feel free to write them below! I’ll see you with another look next week!

Yours Truly,

Meera C.

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