Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Camera Ready at All Times

We all know that switching to the LG G3 completely changed my blogging game. Well...with the launch of the LG G4, things have gotten EVEN better! Keep reading to learn 3 reasons why the G4 is so amazing AND for the chance to win an LG G4 of your own (a $699 value)!

1) Plenty of pixels - The more megapixels, the higher the image resolution. The G4's main camera has 16 megapixels, an increase from 13 megapixels in the G3! (In comparison, the iPhone 6 only has 8 megapixels.) This has resulted in my camera photos becoming EVEN MORE crisp and clear - check out how beautifully the G4 captures the different textures in my photo below.


2) Make mine a manual - The G4 comes with 3 different  photo-shooting settings (Simple, Auto and Manual) making it appropriate for EVERY type of photographer, from novice to professional. While I mainly shoot in Auto, I played around in the Manual mode for the photo below - adjusting the white balance, changing the manual focus for close-ups and brightening the image using the Exposure setting.


3) Light up my lens - the G4 comes equipped with an  F/1.8 Low-Light Lens. This allows it to capture more light - meaning clear photos even in low-light settings. While I usually take most of my blog photos next to a bright window, the photo below was taken in my TV room, where there is no natural light. Despite this - the image is not grainy, but instead clearly captures all the details, from the distressed table to the artwork on my book.



These amazing photography features makes the LG G4 my ideal blogging companion! With the holiday season drawing closer, the LG G4 would make the perfect gift for you (or the tech-lover in your life). And what could be better than a free phone? Thanks to the generous team at LG, one lucky Ella Pretty Blog reader will win an LG G4 phone!!! 

Please note that the contest is only open to Canadian residents. The winner will win one new LG G4 phone from LG Canada - you will be responsible for unlocking the phone for compatibility with your existing cellular service provider. Check back here on December 6, 2015 to see if you've won!

MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS:
1) Follow @ellaprettyblog on Instagram.
2) Comment "I want to win #MyLGG4 from @lgcanada" on THIS PICTURE.
3) Entries will be triple-checked, you MUST follow me & comment on instagram to qualify for this prize.

DISCLAIMER: LG provided me with the G4 phone (and one to give away) but all opinions are from my own experience using the phone. As you can tell, I'm loving it!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Fake Hair, Don't Care!

I've always thought hair extensions were really complicated and hard-to-use. But I've learned so much through beauty blogging - from 'how to wing eyeliner' to 'applying fake eyelashes', so I was up for a new challenge. And surprisingly, wearing clip-in hair extensions was MUCH easier than I thought!

Jacket: c/o Romwe / Tank: Express / Jeans: Express / Shoes: Bandolino (similar) / Bag: Rebecca Minkoff

Irresistible Me generously offered to send me 100% natural Remy human hair clip-in extensions - definitely an offer I couldn't refuse! Of course, I'm still a hair extension newbie - but I thought I'd share the tips I've picked up so far.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT CLIP-IN HAIR EXTENSIONS:
  • Length - Most hair stylists I spoke with recommended using hair extensions no more than 2 inches longer than your natural length. But let's be honest - I wanted Kardashian-style hair - so I chose 18 inches. Here's a useful graphic showing how long each extension length is:

Choosing the right length of hair extension vixenandblush.com
Image Source: Vixen&Blush.com
  • Weight - the weight depends on how much hair is used per extension - the thicker the hair, the heavier the extension. If you have fine/thin hair, pick a lighter weight. For a super-thick, super-long look, choose a heavier weight. Irresistible Me extensions range from 100g to 260g. I chose 140g because I wanted  my extensions to blend in easily with my fine hair, but I probably could have gotten away with 200g.
  • Color - finding the correct color can be tricky - especially if you have highlighted hair like I do! I would recommend looking at pictures and watching videos to make sure you choose the right shade (I chose Chocolate Brown). Irresistible Me packages their hair with a tester piece, so you can check if it's a color match before opening the main package. As long as the seal isn't broken, you can exchange the unopened extensions for a different color. With human-hair extensions, you can always ask your colorist to highlight/dye them to match your hair.
Unboxing my extensions

HOW TO APPLY HAIR EXTENSIONS: 

The extensions arrive in a variety of wefts - from large 4-clip pieces to tiny 1-clip strands. For a dramatic look, you can use ALL the clips, but because I was going for an everyday look, I only used 4 pieces out of the set (one 4-clip, one 3-clip and two 2-clips).

How to Apply Clip-in hair extensions

GENERAL THOUGHTS & TIPS:
  • The main focus when applying hair extensions is to make sure they blend in well with your real hair...I don't think I've mastered this step yet! Because most my of my hair is one length, there is an extra thickness where my real hair ends. Next time I'll use more of the extension pieces and curl my hair more to help disguise the difference in length.
  • I loosely curled my hair after applying the extensions - but I've heard that many people curl their hair and their extensions separately before clipping them in together- I'll be trying this next time!
  • I found the clips held perfectly, without any slipping at all. If you wanted to be super-cautious, you could always tease and hairspray the section of real hair that you clip your extension to.
  • I'd definitely recommend customizing how many wefts you use. Mine were so light that after a while - I couldn't even feel them. I was surprised to learn that many people use extensions for daily wear - they add in a couple of clips for added volume and to make their curls last longer.
Before & After 18 Inch Hair Extensions

Have you ever worn hair extensions? Please share any tips!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Girls Night Out at Studio Fontana

It honestly feels like ALL the exciting blog events happened in the span of 2 weeks. First there was my VIP fashion week experience, then the App-Launching event - and finally - an AMAZING girls night out with some of my favorite blogger friends!

Blogger Outfit Black Cape Blazer Distressed Jeans Chanel Bag
Jacket / CamisoleJeans / Heels (similar) / Bag

We were invited to try out the services at Studio Fontana. This open-concept salon is located in the King Street West neighbourhood, and combines traditional hair styling and makeup stations with a photography studio. Owner Francesco Fontana says "Our intention is to lend the space to the city’s up-and-coming designers, photographers, models, make-up artists, wardrobe and hair stylists...They are welcome to use the studio for their creatives and in return the salon clients and staff will benefit from the inspiring atmosphere."

Me, Carol, Jenelle, Amber, Cheryl, Elaine & Francesco

The salon held a private party for the 5 of us, and we were each treated to a hair-styling session with Francesco Fontana himself (!!!), makeup consultation and application with Cheryl Gushue, and professional outfit photos by Natasha Gerschon.


In the pic above, Francesco is putting the finishing touches on my voluminous curls. P.S. I loved the antique doors at each hair station - such a unique decor touch!

Blogger Outfit Red Floral Dress SATC Charlotte Dress
Dress / Heels (similar)

With the temperatures dropping - it was SO amazing to be able to take outfit photos INSIDE rather than braving the cold. I've posted my 2 favorite pictures here - but I'll definitely be sharing the rest in future posts.

Bloggers at Studio Fontana
Elaine, Me, Jenelle, Sandra, Amber

And here's a picture with my blogger girls. It was so lovely getting to experience this night with them - there was a lot of chatting and catching up between our glam sessions!

Have you ever taken part in a professional photoshoot? How did you like it?

Friday, November 6, 2015

App-Launching and Outfit Shopping

Shopping malls are my happy place, so when Bramalea City Centre (BCC) asked me to be a part of their App Launch Event - I said YES in a heartbeat! I started the day by picking out an outfit to wear, which was easy since BCC has a LOT of my favorite stores - including Forever21, H&M, Old Navy and Express.

Express Blogger Outfit Pink Plaid Blanket Scarf Bow Tie Blouse Distressed Jeans Leggings Barcelona Camisole
Scarf / Camisole / Jeans / Bow-tie Blouse / Bag / Shoes

At Express I found not one but TWO great outfits. The first consisted of the classic Barcelona Cami paired with their famous Pink Plaid blanket scarf. If you're a blanket scarf lover - this pink version is a must-have! I missed out on it last year and I was SO happy to see it re-stocked! The second outfit pairs their distressed skinny jeans with a lady-like bow-tie top. Bow-tie blouses are a big trend this Fall - and I loved how the elegant top contrasted with the ripped-up jeans. Torn between the two outfits - I had to ask my Insta-friends for help. They voted unanimously for the second outfit - so that's what I wore to the event...BUT you know I didn't leave that pink camisole or blanket scarf behind!

With Christina (the Style Mogul) and Eleni (Bijuleni)

After changing into my outfit, I headed to the Style Pop Up station where the three BCC bloggers (me, @bijuleni and @theStyleMogul) got the chance to meet customers, give them style advice and award them with prizes for downloading the BCC App.


It was fun meeting all of the shoppers and helping them find the perfect accessory to complete their outfits!

BCC App Lauch Ella Pretty Blog with Erica Wark, Melissa Grelo, Bijuleni, and The Style Mogul

We also got the chance to hang out with Melissa Grelo and Erica Wark from The Social! They were on stage discussing style trends and handing out prizes...it was a very lucky day for BCC shoppers - so many gift cards were given away!


You might be wondering why there was so much excitement surrounding the BCC App Launch. BCC built on their successful customer loyalty program, FashioniCITY and created this App to make it easier to earn and collect rewards. Here are some of my favorite features:
  • You can find out about deals and promotions at your favorite stores AS YOU SHOP - with proximity based notifications!
  • You are rewarded with virtual gems for checking-in, shopping, participating in events and referring friends. The more virtual gems you accumulate - the more rewards you're eligible for. It's the gift that keeps on giving! Current rewards include BCC giftcards (from $40 to $300), photo packages and umbrellas.
  • You can easily upload receipts using your cameraphone. You earn 1 virtual gem for every $50 you spend.
  • The App also has a GPS function - which makes it easy to go from store to store without getting lost (although this never happens to me...streets I get lost in, but never stores - I think it's a rare shopping superpower?)  
I love having such an interactive experience - finding deals WHILE I shop, and then earning even MORE rewards, just for shopping! This App is definitely one of my faves!

What is your favourite Shopping App?

DISCLAIMER: This post was sponsored by Bramalea City Centre - but all opinions (and excitement!) are my own.

Monday, November 2, 2015

My VIP Fashion Week Experience + Mini Interview with Rachel Sin!

Fall Fashion Week in Toronto was quite an exciting time for me. Along with attending some interesting presentations (HELLO Star Wars Fashion Show !!!) - I got to take part in a fun collaboration with Rachel Sin and Redken.

Navy Rachel Sin Zipper Dress Leopard Heels Vintage Chanel Bag Blogger Outfit
Dress: Rachel Sin Zipper Dress / Bag: Vintage Chanel (similar) / Heels: Merona (similar) / Jewelry: Katherine Karambelas

The first part of this collaboration was borrowing a Rachel Sin dress to wear to her show. I chose the Zipper Dress in Navy. I loved the rich colour and structured ponte material - it felt so sleek and elegant.


The second step was a VIP hair experience - I had my hair styled backstage alongside the models. The Redken team was super talented and efficient - at one point I had 3 people working on my hair!

Redken Runway Hairstyle for Rachel Sin Blogger

Using a combination of Pillow Proof dry shampoo and hairspray, they coaxed my hair into feminine curls contrasted with edgy braids - the same style that the Rachel Sin models would be wearing during the show. I took home the Redken products that were used in my hair - and I'm determined to replicate these loose curls at home!



The third part of the collaboration was FRONT ROW tickets to the Rachel Sin show! This was my first time sitting front row at Fashion Week - it felt SO special having a seat with my name on it! The show was amazing - the clothes...the music...the overall energetic vibe - I loved every minute of it. For a sneak peek of the experience, check out this insta-video I made.

Rachel Sin Runway Models 2015

Above are my favourite outfits from the show. I love the classic blazer worn with the mesh cut-out skirt - such a modern twist on a classic outfit. The coral dresses - one with a scalloped neckline and the other with draping and lace inserts seem like essential holiday wear. As for the navy dress with the cut-out midriff...while I'd never be brave enough to wear it myself, I love the combination of structure and sensuality.

Ella Pretty Blog with Rachel Sin

I've been a fan of Rachel Sin ever since I wore one of her dresses to Spring Fashion Week. Her background in architecture is evident in the amazing cut of her dresses - they drape the body perfectly.  So the most exciting part of the collaboration for me, was the chance to interview Rachel Sin backstage right after watching her show! Here are the 5 questions I asked her:

1) The foundation of your design is through architecture - is there an architectural piece in particular that inspires you?
Well I really like the architect Mies van der Rohe. He's very modern but classic at the same time, and it's all about the detail. And I think for my pieces, it's also about the details. But the fabric and the structure just stands on its own.

2) I've read you use a lot of ponte fabric because of the architectural and structured nature of it. It's also a very forgiving material to wear as well - have you ever thought about doing a maternity range?
Maybe when I get pregnant but probably not now! Ponte is great for the working woman as well - it's something you can wear all day, and it can take you from day to night.

3) Who were your style role models growing up?
I don't think I really have any! You're always taking a little of everything and creating your own style.

4) Do you think the popularity of fast fashion has affected your customer base at all?
For sure it affects everyone, but I don't think you can compare my clothing to fast fashion because it's way different. The quality is very different and even the designs are something you don't see in these fast fashion stores.

5) My last question is about beauty because I love learning beauty secrets! Do you have a must-have skincare or makeup product?
I use Hourglass foundation - I have really oily skin and it's a very good foundation for that.

I was inspired by how Rachel doesn't have any style role models - but instead creates the style that she wants to see! The fast fashion question is one that intrigues me - because as a style blogger, I see a lot of bloggers investing in handbags and shoes - but opting for ZARA or H&M for their outfit (I'm very guilty of this as well!). With fast fashion, you spend less and can keep changing up your look. But it's also true that you can't get the quality or attention to detail that you'd get with a timeless designer piece.

Where do you fall on the fast fashion/designer spectrum? Do you invest in clothing or handbags/shoes?

Check out Rachel Sin's Online Boutique here.

Linking up with More Pieces of Me and Sincerely Jenna Marie

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