Sunday Skincare


Sunday has become my official "skincare" day. I use my regular skin care products during the week, but like to do some extra things for my skin and hair about once a week, as well. Since Sunday evening is usually spent relaxing at home, I like to spend a little extra time pampering myself. Plus, I love setting my skin and hair up for success for the week! 


One of my absolute favorite things to do is a mask. I do one at least once a week, depending on what my skin is doing. I switch between Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask (my absolute favorite!) and Origins Original Skin Retexturing Mask (a new discovery!). I'll choose the mask depending on what my skin is doing. If my skin is having a few breakouts or just feels extra oily, I'll use the charcoal mask to clear that all out. If I've been wearing a lot of makeup that week and feel a little grimy, I'll go for the retexturing mask to get some exfoliating. I like to use the Maskimizer spray to get the most out of those products, although it's not necessary. 


After my mask, I'll typically do some kind of lip treatment. I've been enjoying using this sugar scrub lately. It helps get some of the dead skin off, while not being to harsh or drying our my lips. I'll follow with my favorite lip balm. Tip: after a day of wearing a bold lipstick, I'll do the scrub to remove any remnants of color that may have stuck around!


After skin and lips comes hair! I've been admittedly pretty bad about caring for my hair. I heat-style 3-4 times a week and don't ever let my hair air dry. Shout out to the girls who have horrible air-dried hair - I'm one of them! My sister has been hounding me for years to use a hair mask or leave-in conditioner, so I've finally introduced it into my routine. I was always hesitant to use a leave-in or deep conditioner because I assumed it would weigh down my hair and make it hard to style, thus creating a bad hair day and who wants a bad hair day?! I'm happy to report that my assumption was wrong, at least about these two products!


I've been using the Kristin Ess Reconstructive Moisture Mask 2-3 times a week and I can tell that my ends are more moisturized and smooth after using. If I'm really in need of some moisture and TLC, I'll use the Overnight Perfector by Living Proof.

I typically give myself an at-home manicure on Sundays too, so I might add some cuticle cream or heavy hand lotion to the mix!

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Coffee Conversations

mug
Good Morning! Milo woke me up at a ripe 6:22am this morning with his incessant purring, so...yeah. I don't even need to sent an alarm on my phone because of him. That fact is sometimes appreciated but mostly irritating, if I'm being honest.

It's been a busy week for me with more errands than usual, so I'm looking forward to having a typical "day at my desk" today. Time is literally flying by - I just saw it out the window. With only about 6 weeks left of work, I'm feeling like I have a million things to do, plan, prep, and finish. It's overwhelming at times, but I know I need to just sit and make a plan for the next few weeks and it will all be a-okay. 

Speaking of errands, I popped into Madewell yesterday and picked up these ultra-comfortable jeans. They're so stretchy and without a single tear or destructed mark, which I was in the market for. All of my other jeans have holes in the knees, so I needed a pair that were whole ;) 

I'm seriously considering pre-ordering this agenda for 2018. 

I've recently gotten back into listening to podcasts and am really enjoying the recent episodes from This American Life


I've been wearing these ear jackets a lot lately!

Hope you have a great weekend!

How I Edit My Instagram Photos

I've received a number of questions about how I edit my photos for Instagram, so I thought a little step-by-step would be a fun way to show my method! I almost exclusively use the A Color Story App, which you can download here

First things first, I take about 20-30 photos. Kidding, sort of. If I'm taking photos of an outfit, I'll take a pile of them with slight changes in my expression and pose and rifle through to find the one I like



Once I've landed on the best one, I turn my brightness all the way up on my phone to see what kind of lighting I'm working with. My light source is a decent sized window to the right of me when taking photos, but the weather can really impact how much I need to edit the brightness. If the original is bright enough to work with, I open it in A Color Story to edit. 


My first editing step is to play with the brightness. I like light and bright photos, but I don't like when they're too light that they get grainy or discolored. I toggle with the brightness a bit until I find one that looks good - sometimes that's just a little to the right, other times it's nearly all the way to the right. 


When brightness is set, I go into contrast to add in a little bit of the definition and...contrast...that was lost when adjusting the brightness. I don't tend towards high-contrast photos, so just a few ticks on the scale will do the trick! Next up is adjusting the temperature. The walls on my rental apartment are an obnoxious yellow that I loathe with many parts of myself. Yellow walls paired with my warm-toned rug make for a strong yellow tint, at times. I'll adjust the temperature to add in some blues, if I'm feeling like I have a lemon filter on the photo. 


Those are the typical adjustments I make to the original - brightness, contrast and temperature. Every once in awhile, on a particularly sunny day, I'll lower the exposure just a hair, but that's not often. 

Next, I move onto the filter


I don't like overly-filtered photos. My fiancé and I couldn't disagree more on this. Let's just say he loves sepia. I bought the "Flashes of Delight" filter pack by Glitter Guide and love it. So many good filters! I almost exclusively use Carrie or Cassidy on my Instagram photos. Carrie has more blue tones, Cassidy is more yellow, so I'll choose based on the existing temperature of the photo. (I.e. if my photo is already erring towards blues, I'll go with Cassidy.) When you first select the filter, it's at 100%, which is usually a bit aggressive. You can see the difference that just one filter makes:


I tone the filter way down, rarely going past the halfway mark on the scale. I find the spot that looks right and set it in place! Once the filter is on, it's ready to be shared



You can see just how much of a difference it makes to take a couple steps to adjust some of the elements of a photo. All in all, the whole process might take me a total of 2 minutes. I've got my methods down pretty solid and know exactly how I like to edit, so it's a rather quick process. Plus, there's nothing better, in the social media world, than a well-edited, cohesive looking feed, if you ask me. It's worth taking that extra 2 minutes to make a photo look just how I'd like it to look! 

Office Inspiration

One of the things that I'm most excited about with our upcoming move to Northern Virginia is getting to set up a new office! I'm lucky enough now to have a designated room in my current apartment that serves mostly as an office, but I cannot wait to have a room that is strictly my office, i.e. doesn't hold anything else. When I say that I'm busting out of the seams of the current room, I'm not exaggerating. With the way the room is laid out with windows, a weird closet, a radiator, and french doors, there's not enough wall space for tall storage, so things are just kind of everywhere. It drives me a little bit nuts, but I know I only have another month and a half or so of working out of it, so I can just push through!

Here are my thoughts on how I'd like to set up the new space:


I'm really excited to get a proper desk. For the last two years, I've been using an old Ikea dining table as a desk. It works well and I love the desktop space it gives me, but it's pretty beat up. I just recently realized that I would love to have a 2-person desk, like you see above. One side will be just for my computer, the other will serve as my workspace for making jewelry and packaging up orders. With all of that stuff happening on just one surface right now, you can imagine how chaotic it can get! I've had an Ikea system as a desk before, so I'm looking forward to (hopefully) having one again!

One thing I'm definitely buying is that white tulip table to use as a work table. My roommate has a kitchen table that is currently stored in our office, which is perfect for my assistant when she comes to work at my place. I'll need some surface for someone to work on, as well as a place for me to take photos, so that table will be just what I need!

I'm also hoping to store my big, full-sized mirror that I take most of my outfit photos for Instagram in the office! I'd love to have a prettier place to take daily photos that doesn't have the bed in the background ;) While my job is primarily Elisabeth Ashlie, I'd like to create a little corner that helps keep me organized for Lauren Loves.

Other than those big things,  I already have a few shelving units that will just be moved right in and utilized completely. I need more actual storage versus just pretty storage, so I'm sure I'll be raiding the boxes and baskets section of Ikea and The Container Store to have a proper place for everything. I'll add in some greenery and small decorative objects, but want to keep it mostly simple and clean. One thing I'd really love to have is a wooden (or other material) cut-out sign that says, "Elisabeth Ashlie" for the wall. I'm sure that's something I could find on Etsy, but if you know anyone personally or have purchased something similar from someone, will you let me know?

I've already got my list going for what I'll need/want to buy, so I can't wait to actually get in there and make it happen!

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Desk | Tulip Table | Wall Mirror | Stool | Shelving Units

Coffee Conversations


This photo is, in no way, an accurate description of how I drank my coffee this morning...because mine was had in the 5 o'clock hour on the way to the airport for a 7am flight. Speaking of, I could use another cup or two. Alas, the early morning wake up was for a good cause because I'm officially on vacation for the next three days. And let me tell you, planning to have a little getaway two months out from our wedding was actually the best idea I've had in awhile. I could use a couple days without work, without wedding stuff, just relaxing and soaking up this time before everything gets just a little wild for a few months. I also can't remember the last time that just me, my mom and sister went away somewhere together, so I'm looking froward to making some memories! 

In other news, Mike is on his "bachelor weekend" in San Diego with some of his buddies! Sometimes I feel like he was more excited for this trip than he is for our own wedding, but it's cool, I get it. The man loves his friends. (Not to say that I don't also love my friends, but we are very different socially.)  

On to the other stuff: I'm getting really into In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware and it. is. good. If you're looking for a good read, I'd recommend it! If you need other book suggestions, read the comments on this photo

If you are fair-skinned like me and could use a little sun-kissed-ness before baring your arms and legs in the warm weather, I've been using this gradual tan lotion and really like it! It's natural looking and easy to apply. 

These joggers/house pants/leggings/cozies should be purchased by you and everyone you know. THEY'RE SO SOFT. You are welcome, by the way. 

We're making progress on our townhouse/condo hunt in Virginia! We're planning to go in early July to see some places, in person, but have been sent over quite a few listings to see what's available and I have a good feeling! We will just be renting since we don't know the area, don't know how often Mike will actually need to be at school, don't know if we will be staying after he finishes his program, etc etc etc. I'm looking forward to having more space to live in and to not have to walk up multiple flights of stairs with groceries ;) 

Mike and I are planning to shop for wedding bands next week! We have some family stones that we're hoping to use in my band, so I'm anxious to see what our jeweler can come up with for us. I'm hoping to share another Wedding Update soon! 

Hope you have a great weekend!