On Advertising/Sponsors/Affiliates

Mar 11, 2013

Touchy subject, I know.

But I have some thoughts on the subject, and I know others do too. So this is not a post saying what you should or shouldn't do, rather just my thoughts and trying to figure out what's right for me & this blog.

In case you weren't aware, I am accepting sidebar sponsors now. Haven't really talked about it on here because well, it's not that fun to talk about and I never want to 'push' advertising on you guys. That probably isn't going to change in the future. I might mention it here & there, but if you want any more info, you can check out the Sponsor page up top.

I've also become a Reward Style member. I feel like this is controversial, but maybe it's just me? I've been a member for 2 months-ish, and there's only 5 or 6 posts on here currently with the links. Mostly because I always feel a bit sneaky when I use the links. I feel like 'affiliate links' is quite a dirty term in blogland, but Reward Style links kind of escape being grouped with them? Like, they're an acceptable type of affiliate link? It's odd. Again, maybe it's just me. But yes, I am a member and I have used the links. But I am very conscious of not over-loading posts with affiliate links, so there'll probably only be 1ish a week.

And now onto probably the most touchy topic - sponsored posts. I feel like they used to be really 'taboo' but now, people are more accepting. I think there are some people who do them and keep it really classy (Nicole is one), but I don't think it's something I'm interested in doing. Especially when it's a post sponsored by the company or product being featured - I find that a bit iffy.

The one thing I don't really have an issue with (that I know a lot of people do) is reviews of products sent by the company. Maybe it's because I read beauty blogs and they're always being sent products to review, but it's not something that I find offensive or off-putting. I think there are situations where it could be a bit questionable, but I think especially with beauty or fashion items it's usually fine. Home stuff gets a bit trickier, but it can still be kept classy.

What are your thoughts on everything? Do you accept sidebar sponsors or sponsored posts? Do you use affiliate links? Are you okay with reviews of products sent by the company? Let me know! I know it differs for everyone, and everyones situation is different. How did you decide what was right for you?

Skincare Routine

Mar 7, 2013

Good morning!

I don't know what your skin is like, but mine is super temperamental. If one thing is changed, it goes crazy haha But I have found a few products from Clinique that make my skin happy.

I don't use all three moisturizers at once haha I use the Even Better Moisturizer in the morning, and depending on the season, I use either the Turnaround Overnight (winter) or the Moisture Surge (summer) in the evening. The Dark Spot Corrector is something probably not everyone needs, but I have acne scarring so I find it helps my skin - and yes, it really does help! It doesn't provide instant results, but I find my discolouration is definitely reduced with this. Clinique also makes a spot treatment that is designed to lessen scarring of recent acne, but I couldn't find it online.

What are your favourite skincare products?


How I Got Here

Mar 6, 2013

I remember the first time I discovered 'graphic design', although that wasn't what I called it then. It was the spring/summer before highschool and my family had bought a new computer and it came with a program called Paint Shop Pro.

I just thought that was the coolest thing. I remember spending hours in that room on the computer 'designing' things - and I thought I was the bees knees haha All I really did back then was remove backgrounds and add text - probably didn't even know what a 'layer' was.

But slowly, my skills improved. There was a project in grade 9 french where we had to show different things we loved on a poster board (in french of course). So I used PSP to create different images, each showcasing 'themes' - I think one was computers & tech stuff and another was fashion & beauty things. People told me then I should do that for a living, but I was hesitant (and only 14, not ready to decide my future just yet thanks).

Over the course of highschool, I learned a lot about design. By the time I was finishing grade 12, I designed a book in PSP. (Really!) Our assignment was to recreate Hamlet as a kid's book. So I went and found stock images and edited them and laid in my text and had it all printed and it looked pretty darn good! I kind of can't believe I actually did that haha but it was pretty fun.

When I was researching & applying for universities, my first focus was science. I thought ophthalmology was where I wanted to go, but I realized it wasn't where my heart was. Sometime that fall, I had picked up a book at the university fair for Ryerson because someone had told me they had a good graphic design program. When I realized I was done with the sciences, I began to consider design as an option. So I applied to Ryerson and a few other universities for a couple different programs, but all containing some art or design aspect.

Thinking that the New Media program at Ryerson had anything to do with graphic design had to be the biggest 'fail' ever. Because aside from one upper level graphic design elective, there was no graphic design in sight. I spent my first year learning Processing code, video editing, art history, art theory, and Second Life (don't ask.) In second year, I learned more Processing, more theory, how to code an Arduino microcomputer, and the history of new media. Third year got a bit better because I actually got to choose some courses, so I learned about drafting, set & costume design, more history (but of England this time), more Processing (seriously), more theories (no really) and the basics of HTML & CSS. And in fourth year I learned about curating, exhibition design, more theories, more English history, and how to plan and execute a gallery show. (I also interned for Leigh Viner in fourth year.) This is of course a very basic run down and I did learn more than what's listed here, but you get the gist.

Honestly, even though it wasn't what I thought I wanted, that program could not have been better for me. I already knew how to design, but I didn't know how to code. I was completely intimidated by code. We started with Processing language in first year, and although I struggled with it, it outlined the basics of coding for me. And learning a wee bit of HTML & CSS in third year gave me enough confidence to begin to play around with code.

From there, I taught myself mostly. (The internet is a wonderful thing) I had started this blog by that point, so I learned how to code for Blogger. Now, I can pretty much do anything with Blogger code. I can code for Wordpress; takes a bit longer but I can do it. And now I'm redesigning a proper website for the camp I go to and I'm slightly intimidated by the code staring at me, but I know I can do it.
by Alecia Simersky

So how did I get here? This graphic & web design business? It has been a very natural evolution of things. Over the course of 9 years, I have learned how to design (I now use PS3, no more PSP haha) and how to code, and they have found a happy meeting place in blog design.

I think my advice to anyone who wants to do this (or any other 'career' really) is to learn at your own pace. If they're available, take some courses to get your feet wet so it's not so big & intimidating. And then play around with it. Open up a new Photoshop file and just learn new things. Same with coding. If you Google 'how to add border in HTML', tons of results will pop up. So just try things. Always save a backup just in case, but don't be afraid to screw it up. Sometimes that's how we learn best, when we have to solve a problem. And I think that applies to any area of our lives.

Whatever it is that you've always wanted to do but it's been too big or intimidating, take it slow. You'll get there :)

Linking up with the lovely ladies of the God-sized Dream Team. Click here to see all my Dream Team posts.

Friday Favourites: Oscars, Smoothies & Heels

Mar 1, 2013

It's March! Yay!

It's been busy over here these past few weeks! Did you watch the Oscars on Sunday? Whose dress did you love the most? I think Naomi Watts & Charlize Theron were my top two.

If you haven't seen this, you must! Jennifer Lawrence is just so fun in this backstage interview after winning her Oscar. Versions of this have been going around all the social media sites, but this is the full one. And have you seen the clip when she meets Jack Nicholson? She's everybody's new favourite person, but can you blame them?

I made this Pineapple Spice Cake smoothie (on pg 70, you might have to scroll down a smidge) the other day and I am in love; it is so good and fresh, but also kind of reminds me of Christmas? Must be the cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in it. I didn't put in all the pineapple or mango that it called for (wouldn't fit in my blender haha) but it still tasted so good. It made about 1.25 L, so it was filling too!

Other loves this week:

If Downton Abbey happened on Facebook, these recaps are SO good. Season 4 can't come soon enough!!

Recently installed new designs for Home Style Report & Fine Interiors. Love how they both turned out!

These heels from Forever 21; wish I could grab a pair in every colour!

What have you been loving this week?

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