September Beauty Finds

It’s been a while since I shared a round-up of my latest beauty obsessions, so to close out the month of September (how did that come so fast?!), here you go! I try out lots of beauty items and this month I’m sharing the new products that I’ve found myself using on a consistent basis – everything from eye shadow and nail polish, to lip color for fall, mascara,  eye liner and more. Read more and shop these items using the links below!

September Beauty Finds

Shop the Post:

Nail Polishes / Mascaras / Eye Liner

Eye Shadow Palette / Lip Gloss

Face Primer & Perfector

Nail polishes… These ones from the Ciate London Olivia Palermo collection became three of my go-tos the day they arrived in the mail. My nail routine usually consists of a good, professional mani/pedi every month or so and then I give myself a DIY polish change during the weeks in between. The nude color – “Sundaysmy off duty nude” – has the perfect amount of pink in it and it’s honestly the best neutral, everyday color I’ve found – I get compliments every time I have it on. I also love “Nantucketmy hot vacation coral,” and while I haven’t tried “Hutchmy go to red” yet, I have a feeling it will be exactly what it says – my go-to red. My favorite thing about these nail polishes is how easy they are to apply thanks to a wide, flat brush. And my nails feel strong and the color lasts!

Mascaras… I’ve only had fake lashes twice, one of which was my wedding, and I swear they instantly make you look 100% more put together and done up. Well, the reality is I have no clue how to do that myself, nor do I think I would have the patience to do that even if I did. To get a similar effect, I’ve been using Too Faced Better than False Lashes Extreme, which has one tube of mascara and another with lash extending fibers. It just takes three steps – mascara, fibers, mascara – and you get the look of fake lashes. I like to add at least one more coat of mascara at the end just for fun.

Eye liner… I’m no eye liner pro and it usually takes me a bit to get used to anything new in this category. But once I got the hang of it, I became a big fan of CoverGirl’s Intensify Me Liquid Liner. It came out faster than I expected, but it just took a couple times to figure it out. And the best part is that it has a paddle shape so you can turn it one way or another to get a thick or thin line.

Eye shadow palette… I have so many beauty products around the house taking up all drawer space in two out of our three bathrooms, so I appreciate a good palette that has makeup I actually use and cuts down on clutter. The tarte tartelette Amazonian clay matte palette is a great eye shadow palette, with a nice mix of 12 new shades that include lots of matte neutrals with a few pink and purple color options.

Lip gloss… Aside from mascara and a good mani, having a good lip color on instantly makes me feel put together. I always have a few favorites in my bag, and right now one of those is Laura Mercier’s Lip Glace in Black Cherry. The color is great for fall and when I just need a little bit of color and shine, I swipe one layer on, and if I want more color, I add a few more. Don’t worry, this is not a sticky gloss (hair getting caught in sticky lip gloss is the absolute worst).

Face primer & perfecter… I’ve been a fan of YSL’s lip stains for years now, but it dawned on me that I hadn’t tried out any of their other products until recently when I was introduced to their Touche Eclat Blur Primer & Blur Perfector.  The Blur Primer goes on before foundation (one small pump is plenty!) and it has four different oils to fill in your skin and leave it looking luminous. There are sparkles in the bottle, but thankfully those don’t actually show up on your face (that would bring me back to middle school…). Then the Blur Perfector redirects light and blurs imperfections – and it can be used three ways: on its own as a complexion perfecter, to set makeup and as a touch up throughout the day to get rid of shine, etc. Plus there’s no need to go through the process of figuring out what shade you need because the color works for all skin tones. So far, I’m loving both of these!

 

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**While samples were provided for review, all opinions are my own.**

Coming Soon: Filene’s Basement Online

This post brought to you by Filene’s Basement. The content and opinions expressed below are that of DailyKaty.

I love to shop, but I also love a good deal, and that goes way back to when I was little, shopping with my mom at stores like Filene’s Basement. Here in New England and in Chicago and the Mid-Atlantic states, Filene’s was a popular place to shop for clothes and accessories, with more than 20 stores until they closed their doors in 2011. Filene’s Basement was where you would go for steals on great brands and I can vividly remember hiding in the racks while my mom shopped around. My guess is if you live in the areas where it was and you ask your mom, she probably shopped there too!

This fall, Filene’s Basement is re-opening its “doors” with the launch of an e-commerce site, FilenesBasement.com. It’s going to stay true to it’s original roots and history, except this time it will be a curated online marketplace, customized to personal taste, with discount, branded apparel, accessories and home goods. And with it being online, you’ll be able to shop it from anywhere, anytime.

I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store at Filene’s Basement online when it launches this fall! Now my big question is, will there be an online version of their annual “Running of the Brides” event?!undefined

Visit Sponsors Site

Target Finds & Giveaway!

Happy Labor Day! I’m happy to have had a relaxing weekend, complete with three beach days and lots of time with friends to close out summer. There are so many sales going on this weekend and that includes lots of items being an extra 10% off at Target with code LABORDAY. So today I’m rounding up some of my fave Target finds and giving you the chance to win a $200 Target gift card now through Thursday. I could easily put $200 to use there… just saying. Shop these items using the links below and then scroll down to enter the giveaway!

 

Target Giveaway

Shop the Post:

Fringe Bags: Pink / Gray / Black

Beach Picks: Visor / Sunglasses / Blanket / Sandals

Gold Decor: Flatware Set / Elephant Tray / Gold Tray

Fall Vests: Black / Green / Denim

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Prize: $200 Target Gift Card

Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck!

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 9/10 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.

$200 Target Gift Card Giveaway on DailyKaty.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join future giveaways!

Easy Beachy Waves with John Frieda Beach Blonde

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. 
#MyBeachBlonde #CollectiveBias

The beach is my happy place – if I could, I would be there every single day. I love relaxing, reading a magazine and soaking up the sun. And one of my favorite things about leaving the beach is the naturally wavy texture of my hair from the salty ocean water. But the reality is that I can’t get real beach hair on a daily basis, so that’s where John Frieda® Beach Blonde™ Sea Waves™ Sea Salt Spray comes in.

John Frieda Beach Waves Tutorial on DailyKaty.com

Way back in high school, I remember using John Frieda® Sheer Blonde™ shampoo and conditioner, which are still available in updated versions. My hair is naturally blonde, so I was drawn to the products because they were made just for my hair – and I had such a great experience with them that Sheer Blonde has been a regular in my shampoo/conditioner rotation for years (I tend to switch it up after a bottle is gone, as I think my hair benefits from the change).

When I heard about the new Beach Blonde™ line, I was excited to try them out. Based on the name, I thought these products were also designed with blondes in mind, but turns out they’re actually great for all hair colors if you’re looking for a beachy look. I have long, fine hair, but lots of it, so my hair is usually pretty straight unless I’ve been in salt water or it’s a humid day. The Beach Blonde™ Sea Waves™ Sea Salt Spray made my hair look very similar to a post-beach day look – lots of texture and undone waves – thanks to the natural sea salt in the spray. Plus it has a really nice coconut scent!

John Frieda Beach Blonde Tutorial on DailyKaty.com

Here’s how to get my beachy waves (of course, results will vary based on your hair type):

  1. Wash your hair with Beach Blonde™ Cool Dip™ Purifying Shampoo, which leaves your hair with texture.
  2. Finish with Beach Blonde™ Smooth Seas™ Detangling Conditioner, which does a great job detangling my hair (this is an important step with my hair!). Both this and the shampoo have a cool minty scent that made my shower smell so refreshing.
  3. Towel dry your hair and then twist your hair into small section. Spray Beach Blonde™ Sea Waves™ Sea Salt Spray on the twists of hair.
  4. Blow dry on low with a diffuser, spray a little more Sea Salt Spray and you’re good to go!

Another style I tried out today is this super easy side braid. I sprayed the Beach Blonde™ Sea Waves™ Sea Salt Spray on my damp hair, added the braid, scrunched my hair a little with my hairs and let it air dry on my way to work. Only takes a few minutes!

John Frieda Beach Waves Tutorial on DailyKaty.com

You can pick up all three of these John Frieda® Beach Blonde™ products at Walmart (an easy way to find the closest store is to go to “free pickup” on the product page and type in your zip code – it will bring up stores that sell them).

For more on John Frieda® and the Beach Blonde™ line, visit JohnFrieda.com. You can also follow the brand on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Beachy Waves with John Frieda on DailyKaty.com

Have you tried any of the John Frieda® Beach Blonde™ products? What’s your favorite summer hairstyle? Let us know in the comments below!

Wedding Style with Rent the Runway

I’m at that age where every spring through fall, we have lots and lots of weddings to attend. I personally love weddings, mainly for two reasons: getting dressed up and celebrating with friends, many of which we don’t get to see often. And these events always result in lots of photos, so many that I whatever dress I wore ends up at the back of my closet, never to be worn again.

This past weekend was the wedding of one of my best friends from college, and I was excited to switch up my wedding style because she was having more of a casual outdoor party by the beach rather than a formal ceremony and reception. I knew I wanted a floral maxi dress, but all of the ones that I was finding in stores were a) expensive and b) I couldn’t see myself wearing them on multiple occasions to justify the expense.

In comes Rent the Runway… a service that lets you rent beautiful dresses for a small fraction of their retail value. They make it so easy (on both my to do list and bank account) that I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever actually purchase a special occasion dress again. Why spend $500 on a dress I know I’ll only wear once when I can rent it for $100? And why spend $100 on a new but not-as-nice, cheaper dress that I still will only wear once? Might as well look and feel better for that $100!

Wedding Style with Rent the Runway on DailyKaty.com

Shop the Post:

c/o Shoshanna Dress via Rent the Runway / Bag (sale!) 

Sandals (sale!) / Earrings (only $15!) / c/o bareMinerals Foundation

Lips / Mascarac/o Too Faced Bronzer & Blush / Nails

 

To find the perfect dress to rent, I went to RentTheRunway.com, entered in my size and delivery date, then filtered my search further by length (long) and formality (daytime). There are lots more filter options (color, body type, designer, etc.) to help you find the best option, as there are thousands of dresses from 250+ designers to choose from. I’m a big fan of Shoshanna dresses and found two that I loved, so I decided to rent both, as you can rent a backup size for free and also add a second dress for $32.50 (the rentals themselves start at just $30). One of the best things about Rent the Runway is that their users give lots of feedback on the dresses, so you don’t have to guess if the dress runs long, doesn’t have any stretch, etc.

Once you select your dress(es), you just wait for it to arrive on your delivery date, wear it and throw it in the prepaid (free) UPS envelope to be shipped back – you don’t even need to worry about dry cleaning. You can choose to have your rental for 4 or 8 days – I went with 4 and had it delivered on Thursday before the wedding, then dropped it in the mail on Sunday.

Here are the two Shoshanna dresses I went with (shop them here: left, right)…

Wedding Style with Rent the Runway on DailyKaty.com

After trying them on, I fell in love with the purple floral Shoshanna Hydrangea Garden Maxi, though I may have to rent the other one for a different occasion. From there, all I had to do was accessorize with sandals, a bag and earrings (all on sale!), put on some makeup and I was good to go. For makeup, the YSL lip stain I’m wearing is one of my all-time faves, and I also used bareMinerals READY Foundation, Too Faced Soul Mates Blushing Bronzer and Avon Big & Daring Mascara. Before the big day, I got a mani pedi with this light blue color – perfect for spring/summer.

My Rent the Runway dress worked out perfectly, we had a great weekend with our friends, and on Sunday, we were all ready to go home and take a nice long nap to recover (see last pic below of our pup Hank on the car ride home). More pics are below!

Join Rent the Runway and you’ll get $25 off your order of $75+ (valid for new customers). You can rent (and shop!) my dress using the links in this post, and for more of my favorites from Rent the Runway, follow me on Instagram (@dailykatyblog) and “like” the post about Rent the Runway. You’ll get a shoppable email to your inbox with lots of summer dress options to rent (just sign up for ShopStyle first).

Wedding Style with Rent the Runway on DailyKaty.com

Wedding Style with Rent the Runway on DailyKaty.com

Wedding Style with Rent the Runway on DailyKaty.com

Wedding Style with Rent the Runway on DailyKaty.com

Wedding Style with Rent the Runway on DailyKaty.com
Wedding Style with Rent the Runway on DailyKaty.com

Wedding Style with Rent the Runway on DailyKaty.com

Wedding Style with Rent the Runway on DailyKaty.com

Wedding Style with Rent the Runway on DailyKaty.com

**While I was provided a complimentary dress rental for review, all opinions are my own.**

June Beauty Finds

I’m officially kicking off wedding season this weekend with a reception for one of my best college friend and her husband, so I thought it would be timely to share some of my latest beauty finds. Lots more to come this spring and summer with wedding style and beauty, but for now I’ll leave you with five beauty products I’m loving: my new favorite lip balm, a bronzer and blush duo, a choose-your-own mascara, a waterproof eye liner, and a palette of pastel eye and cheek colors that are perfect for spring. Read on to learn more and shop each product!

6.3.15-JuneBeauty

 

 

bareMinerals Pop of Passion Lip Oil-BalmsI always have a few different lip colors in my purse so I have something ready for any occasion, and Pop of Passion has quickly become one of my go-to’s. I love that they go on like a lip balm, giving lots of hydration and shine, but that they also give you color that actually stays put like a stain. I was skeptical, but somehow the oil-rich formula makes it last! I’m loving the Candy Pop (neon pink) and Plumberry Pop (pink plum) colors and can’t wait to try out more of the others: Nude, Peach, Pink and Rose Passion, as well as Tangerine and Punch Pop. {bareescentuals.com, $16 each}

Too Faced Soul Mates Blushing Bronzer: This bronzer won me over before I even tried it out because the color names happen to be both of my all-time favorite TV couples: Carrie & Big (Sex & the City) and Ross & Rachel (Friends). These limited-edition compacts come with blush and bronzer, giving your skin a sun-kissed bronze color with a pop of blush, which can be used separately or blended together. Carrie & Big is a light to medium bronzer with coral blush and Ross & Rachel is a medium to deep bronzer with pink blush. I’ve been using Carrie & Big daily!  {toofaced.com, $34}

Buxom Vanity Lash Mascara Bar: This is the first mascara “bar” I’ve ever seen and I have to say it’s a pretty smart concept! You get to pick from seven different mascara brushes at Sephora to pair with the mascara. The wand names speak for themselves: Big & Bushy, Full & Fabulous, Thick & Defined, Strong & Long, Itty Bitty, Curl & Contour and Lush & Lifted. I’ve used them on their own and also combined, as I loved to layer different mascara types to maximize the benefits. The mascara has biotin and provitamin B5 to help strengthen lashes (you may have heard biotin is great for your hair, and it’s also good for your lashes!) and shea butter, vitamin E and olive oil to nourish them. {sephora.com, $22}

tarte clay pot Amazonian clay waterproof lineretch & sketch double-ended bamboo liner brush: A good eyeliner can make a big statement when it comes to eyes, and this one is definitely up there with the best of them. It’s a popular clay pot waterproof liner in luxe, gold packaging. What I love about it: it’s velvety, non-drying and with the 2-in-1 ergonomic liner brush (sold separately), you can create a crisp, thin line or a dramatic cat eye. The Amazonian clay in the liner gives you longer wear and it comes in black, brown, bronze and blackened plum. {tartecosmetics.com, liner: $21, brush: $15}

Laura Mercier Watercolour Mist Eye & Cheek Palette: This limited-edition palette comes with calm, serene and balanced tones that create sateen, watercolor-like finishes on your eyes and cheeks. The best way I can describe the colors as are pastels, and they are a fun way to stray from my usual pinks, golds and neutrals. There are lots of ways to wear this palette of six eye shadows and two cheek colors, one of which is to start with Purple Rain from the lash line through the crease, then blend Mist from the crease fading outward on the brow bone. Then add Cloud at the upper lash line, increasing in width blending outward and upward, and also blend it in along the bottom lash line. Finish with eye liner and mascara! {lauramercier.com, $58}

MayBeauty (4 of 17)

MayBeauty (11 of 17)

**While I received samples for review, all opinions are my own.**

Carry-On Travel Bags

I’ve been taking lots of day trips and long weekend trips this year, both for work and play, and through that I’ve quickly learned the importance of having a good carry-on bag. Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite carry-on travel bags right now, all of which are perfect in their own way. Now I’m on the hunt for new rolling suitcases (both carry-on and larger with spinning wheels), so if you have any suggestions, let me know!

Carry-On Travel Bags on DailyKaty.com

 

1. cinda b Traveling Bowler

This bag (bottom left) quickly became one of my absolute, all-time favorite travel bags as soon as I started using it. I’ve mainly been using it as a carry-on bag when I travel on short trips because it has a zip opening to easily slip over my rolling suitcase handle, so it makes carrying all of my bags much easier. Plus the interior of it is even bigger than it looks and it fits everything I need, from my laptop and magazines to my purse, cosmetics and more, especially since there are lots of pockets. I’ve also used it as an overnight bag – it has an adjustable cross-body strap and also regular handles. And one of the best thing about cinda b bags is the fabric – it’s so durable and comes in tons of fun patterns. I went with Noir (all black) this time, but I love patterns like Neptune (shown on this beach bag). {cindab.com, $129}

2. Hayden-Harnett Ibiza Flight Tote

I discovered Hayden-Harnett last year and now I wish I could have one of everything they make. They have a line of travel bags and accessories that are great for work, weekends and travel. The bag shown in the photos isn’t available anymore, but they have an even better bag, the Ibiza Flight Tote, which comes in black, silvered grey, orchid (pink) and olive. I actually had my eyes on this bag but it wasn’t available when I got my other one! The Ibiza can be worn in up to six different ways thanks to its unique strap/handle and snap system, so you can change it up based on your preferences. {haydenharnett.com, $198}

3. LeSportsac  Voyager Backpack

Backpacks are back in style and I’ll be the first to admit that I love them. In fact, I’ve been using a backpack as my carry-on bag for years and I needed them to come back in style so I could get one that didn’t look like I was back in high school going to class. I love the LeSportsac Voyager Backpack because it’s nice and roomy and easy to get things in and out of. LeSportsac has so many fun prints and patterns that they introduce throughout the year – this one is a floral print called Euphoria. The Voyager has a drawstring closure and lots of of pockets to store your on-the-go essentials. I think this might even make a good beach bag this summer! {lesportsac.com, $118}

4. Baggalini Village Tote

Another great options that slides right over your suitcase handle is the Village Tote from Baggalini, one of their best-selling bags. This bag also has lots of pockets for organization and also has a removable coin purse and a padded front zipper pocket that’s perfect for my Nook or iPad. The Village Tote has a nice shoulder strap so it’s easy to carry and the style is more like a traditional shoulder bag, not quite as big as the cinda b bag above. The fabric is lightweight and water-resistant and while the blue shown here is no longer available, it comes in black, which is perfect for anytime use. {baggalini.com, $94.95}

Carry-On Travel Bags on DailyKaty.com

Carry-On Travel Bags on DailyKaty.com

Carry-On Travel Bags on DailyKaty.com

Carry-On Travel Bags on DailyKaty.com

Carry-On Travel Bags on DailyKaty.com

 Carry-On Travel Bags on DailyKaty.com

**While I was provided samples for review, all opinions are my own.**

Spring 2015 FabFitFun VIP Box {Review & Giveaway}

Subscription boxes are the craze right now and they’re a great way to try out new products without paying full price for them. Plus, there’s an element of surprise (unless you check the spoilers online) because you don’t know what you’re going to get until it arrives. I love the FabFitFun subscription boxes – they’re sent out quarterly and cost just $49.99 for $200 worth of products, all of which are full size.

Spring 2015 FabFitFun VIP Box Review & Giveaway

Each FabFitFun box comes with a mix of beauty, fashion, fitness, wellness and home products. The Spring 2015 box that’s currently available came with items from Jules Smith, ORLY, Rifle Paper Co., Palmetto Derma, Merrithew, Ofra Cosmetics and Cosmos Creations, as well as gift cards from Hello Fresh, Vow to be Chic and Sprout It. Read on for more details on the Spring FabFitFun items – and scroll down to the bottom to enter to win this box for yourself!

  • Jules Smith Scarf: Spring is finally here and I’ve been dying to ditch the jackets and start wearing things like blouses and t-shirts with fun scarves like these. I received this scarf in Watercolor (love it!) and it also comes in Modern Art. They were designed specifically for the FabFitFun box and are also available on the brand’s website. They’re great because they are made from a nice, lightweight cotton viscose, so they can be warn even in warmer temps. This is definitely my favorite item in the Spring 2015 FabFitFun box! Jules Smith also makes lots of great jewelry – love this layered necklace set and these earrings. {julessmithdesigns.com, $42}
  • ORLY Nail BB Creme & ORLY Nail Polish in Cake Pop: I’m a big fan of BB and CC creams for my face, so I was excited to try out this BB creme for my nails. It smooths, moisturizes and brightens your nails, while also giving them a sheer peach tint that is the perfect natural mani. And more often than not, I go with a light pink shade on my nails, so this “Cake Pop” color is right up my alley. {orlybeauty.com, $15 BB creme, $8.50 nail polish}
  • Hello Fresh $40 Gift CardIf you haven’t tried out any of the delivery meal services yet, this is your chance! I’m looking forward to trying this one out, as I’ve heard great things. Hello Fresh gives you everything you need to create three simple yet delicious meals at home for either two or four people – and they do all of the shopping for you and deliver it right to your door. The recipes are nice and easy to follow and they’re made with farm fresh ingredients. {hellofresh.com, $69/week for 2 people, $129/week for 4 people}
  • Vow to be Chic $125 Gift CardWhy wasn’t this around when I was getting married?! I’ve used a similar service in the past to rent dresses for special occasions so I don’t have to spend the money on something I’m only going to wear once. And aren’t bridesmaids dresses exactly that? My bridesmaids probably would have loved renting a dress instead of buying one, and this site has lots of nice ones to choose from in a variety of styles and colors. Since this gift card gives you a free dress rental with the rental or purchase of another, I’ll either find two occasions to use this for, or I’ll give it to one of my soon-to-be bride friends. {vowtobechic.com}
  • Sprout It App Card & Miracle Grow Gro-able Seed Pod: I’ve been wanting to grow my own veggies and herbs, but city living presents some challenges… plus, I have no idea where to start! I can’t wait to try out this all-in-one seed pod, and if all goes well, I’m definitely going to need more. All you have to do is remove the lid and place it in the soil. And then the Sprout It app makes it even easier by giving you reminders and tips, customized to your location and garden. {miraclegro.com, $1.49 per seed pod}
  • Rifle Paper Co. Cities Coasters Set: These coast to coast coasters make a great gift! In true Rifle Paper Co fashion, the illustrations of each city – New York, London, Toyko and Paris – on each of the coasters are beautiful. And they come in a nice keepsake box too. {riflepaperco.com, $16}
  • Palmetto Derma Collagen Booster and Restoration Serum: This free radical fighting super serum promises to keep your skin safe and fresh from the bad stuff your skin faces daily, like sun, smoke and smog. I’ve been hearing lots about Vitamin C serums, and this one increases collagen growth, rapidly slows down the aging proces, fills in fine lines and minimizes wrinkles, while also fighting to make sure they don’t come back. The best part? If you love this product and want more, or if you want to try out some of the brand’s other products, you can get 25% off your purchase now through August 31 with code FABFITFUN25. {palmettoderma.com, $48}

GIVEAWAY! You can enter to win this FabFitFun VIP box below, now through May 25, 2015. Open to US residents.

For more on the products featured in the Spring 2015 FabFitFun VIP box, visit FabFitFun.com. From there, you can also sign up to receive your own quarterly FabFitFun boxes.

Spring 2015 FabFitFun VIP Box Review & Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Thanks to FabFitFun for providing samples for this review & giveaway. All opinions are my own.**

DailyKaty & Beginner Photography Tips

Way back when I was finishing up high school, I really wanted to be a full-time photographer, but I just didn’t have the background and expertise for an art-based college education. I was always the girl carrying around a camera, borrowing my mom’s DSLR whenever I had the chance. But the truth is, I never really learned how to take beautiful photos aside from having a nice camera and letting it run on auto mode.

Beginner Photography Tips

One of the reasons I started this blog was that I was so drawn to the artistic visuals I saw on other blogs I was following. I never made it to photography school (business and marketing were a better fit for me), but I’m using this blog as an opportunity to learn. My photos have come a long way in the past year or so, but I have so much to learn. I’ve signed up for a few classes and I’m so excited to take this blog to the next level with what I learn.

Beginner Photography Tips

As I build my photography skills, I’m excited to share that Samsung is giving me the opportunity to try out their Samsung NX3000 camera for a few months! I’m already seeing a big difference in my pics and I’ll be sharing more about my experience using this camera in the coming months. I was drawn to this camera for a few reasons:

  • Great feedback from other bloggers and online reviews
  • Nice and compact but doesn’t sacrifice the features – fits right in my bag
  • Screen that flips out for fun selfies or pics taken using a tripod
  • Wifi connection for easy uploading to my computer, Instagram, etc.

And while we’re on the topic of my photography journey, I wanted to share a few beginner photography tips that have already made a huge difference in my pics. Lots more to come – and full disclaimer that I am certainly no expert and have a lot to learn!

Beginner Photography Tips

1. Lighting is important. Trust me, paying attention to this will drastically improve your photos. I’ve been finding it best to stage photos outside, a couple hours within sunrise or sunset, not in direct sunlight. This can be challenging during the winter months or when shooting home decor indoors, so I’ll be purchasing a ring light soon to help with those situations.

2. Aperture = that professional, blurry background look. Aperture is measured in “F numbers” – the lower the number, the more blurry your background will be. When I’m shooting portraits, recipes or products where I want the background to be blurry to focus on the subject, I tend to use f/4.0. If I’m taking a scenic shot, then I have f value higher, so it lets in more light and the whole frame is in focus. And since I haven’t quite learned how to use the manual settings, I’ve been using “Aperture Priority” setting, which allows me to select the aperture and the camera automatically picks the appropriate shutter speed.

3. Composition is where you can get creative. There are a few standard tips to keep in mind, but for the most part, this is how you make your photos your own. Composition basically is how you arrange items in your photo. In general, the rule of thirds will help – picture a 3×3 grid and then position the main subject at one of the corners of the center rectangle. From there, you can get creative and develop your own photography style.

4. Shutter speed + ISO sensitivity are also key. They’re the other 2/3 of what’s called the “exposure triangle,” along with aperture. I’m learning more about these, but I do know that shutter speed controls how quickly the shutter opens and closes – and the amount of light that is let in. ISO sensitivity is a bit more challenging to explain, so I plan on sharing examples in future posts. Usually, you’ll want the ISO to be lower to prevent “noise” in your photo unless you’re shooting at night or in the dark.

5. A little editing can go a long way. This is another area I have a long way to go on, but I started playing around with the basics on my iPhone using the VSCO Cam app and now I have Adobe Lightroom 5. It’s pretty amazing how easily you can transform your photos to make them so much more visually appealing. Changing the contrast and composure are the two things I’ve been focusing on.

Example below! The top photo was taken indoors using Aperture Priority setting on f/4.0 with no photo editing. The bottom was taken with the same aperture setting but was taken outdoors in natural light and then I edited it just a tiny bit in Lightroom.

Beginner Photography Tips

Update: Another great mirrorless camera option is the Sony a5100 or Sony a6000. The a5100 is super small but still gives you great results, and the a6000 is still small in size but has some nice updated features. I’ve been using the a6000 for a few weeks and love it so far!

What photography tips do you live by? Let us know in the comments below and feel free to include links to your favorite tutorial posts!

March Beauty Finds

While I usually stick to a few go-to beauty routines that are rotated based on the occasion (work, daytime, nights out, etc.), I also love trying out new beauty products. I’ve been trying out lots of new makeup lately, and as a result, I’ve been finding new products here and there to add to the mix on a regular basis.

Because of this, I’m excited to start up a new monthly series of beauty finds, which will include everything from makeup and skincare to hair, bath and body products. Read on for my March favorites and shop each one using the links I’ve included.

March Beauty Finds on DailyKaty.com

  • Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick: I tried this out for the first time this weekend and I already need more (or all 18) of the colors it comes in. My biggest complaint about regular lipstick is that most just don’t last, and when I’m out at night or at work, I tend to forget to reapply. That’s why I love lip stains – and this lipstick stays put like a stain does, and also has the intense color of a liquid lipstick and the high shine of a gloss. I loved the Strawberry color I tried and gave it some extra shine with a clear gloss over it. {toofaced.com, $21}
  • bareMinerals READY Eyeshadow 8.0 The Sexy Neutrals: I love makeup palettes, especially when I’m traveling, which I’ve been doing very often these past couple of months. BareMinerals has some great options right now that have great neutral color schemes, all of which can be used to dress up or down. I’m a big fan of the Sexy Neutrals right now, and the Power Neutrals and Posh Neutrals are great too. The eyeshadows even have benefits that reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and puffiness. {bareescentuals.com, $40 each}
  • tarte tartelette limited-edition Amazonian butter lipstick: I used to stick with clear lip gloss at work or on days where I’m dressed pretty casual, but lately I’ve decided that I feel so much more put together when I wear lip color. One of my new favorites for everyday wear is this one from tarte, which is a fun 15th anniversary version of one of the brand’s most popular lipsticks. This lipstick is infused with murumuru and capuacu butters that come straight from the Amazon. The new “ethereal pink” shade is a soft neutral pink that gives you just enough color and keeps your lips hydrated and smooth. {tartecosmetics.com, $16}
  •  Avon Big & Daring Volume Mascara: Mascara is my daily go-to, especially because I have very blonde eyelashes that need some color to make me look awake. This one is great for volume – it has a big mascara applicator that you apply from root to tip and immediately gives you full looking lashes. It’s also water-resistant, so it stays put. {avon.com, $9}
  • Freeman Beautiful Body Cucumber, Melon & Ginseng Body Wash: Just hearing the words “cucumber” and “melon” together brings me back to a scent that was one of my favorites back in my middle school days. This body wash, which came in one of my recent Beauty Box 5 boxes, is both cleansing and refreshing. For more on the subscription box Beauty Box 5, visit this post{beautyencounter.com, $.99}

 **While I was provided samples to try out, all opinions are my own.**