Monday, 31 January 2011

Ooh a giveaway?!

This is my "yay, a giveaway!!" face :]]]

I originally planned to do another giveaway when I hit 100 followers and now I have 134 so yay!! I hope to do one again when I hit 150, which I hope will be really soon.
Well this giveaway is sponsored by HerCatwalk and is for a $25 Gift Card to your choice of Urban Outfitters, H&M and Forever 21 (if you do not have these stores in your country then alternates may be offered) The giveaway is open to US, UK and International readers and the gift card will be to the equivalent of $25 in your currency.

How to enter...
1) Join hercatwalk and leave a message saying you are a member in the comments
2) Get up to 3 bonus entries by leaving up to 3 comments on your favourite entries from the hercatwalk blog and commenting here with links to your comments  

The giveaway is open until Monday 14th Feburary (oooh Valentines day!!) 
Good Luck!!

Charlotte xxx

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Love, Lust and Links

Sorry this is a little late- I've had a crazy, busy but completely awesome weekend :]]] Today is a day of catching up in the library, cups of tea and early nights!!

1. Girly Friends
I am a really girly girl and I really need female company. My girls at home are there when I need to laugh, cry or talk about anything that anyone else would consider heinously inappropriate. I've had a really great weekend just hanging out with two of my lovely girl friends. It's been a lot of fun!!

2. Being spontaneous
I am rigid in my planning and organisation, but I forget how much I enjoy letting go and seeing what happens. I just need a big push to make it happen!!

3. Cooking
My new Hungry Girl book came this week, so last night we made I Can't Believe It's Not Potato Salad and her fish skewers. I was in charge of the salad and it took about a zillion ingredients and took FOREVER. But I love the satisfaction of making something that may take a while, but tastes amazing.

4. The end of Coffee-free January
Finally!! On Tuesday I can have my first skinny vanilla latte in a month!! You can see how my month went without my coffee fix over at College Candy
5. Photography

After my photography post on Wednesday I have really tried to up to ante with my photography. I have a long way to go but I'm really happy with this week's pictures.

I'm not too sure if there is any way at all these shoes could be any more perfect. Does anyone want to start saving up for my impending 21st Birthday?

Yes, my Birthday is 2 months away (exactly, actually!!) but after seeing someone on LookBook wearing this dress I've decided it has to be mine.

8. Kendi Everyday
Kendi is the master of remixing. This week she posted her remixing guide and presented us with her picks for her next 30 in 30 challenge. If it wasn't a mere two days until the start of Feburary I really think I would have considered doing 30 in 30. I think it would be a real challenge but I think it would really open my eyes up to what my wardrobe can do. Maybe next month, eh?

9. Travel Plans
I'm starting to get really excited about planning a trip to Minneapolis really soon, and I'm seriously considering a trip to Chicago for the weekend at some point after my birthday. I can't wait!!

10. Carrots and Houmous

I'm kinda concerned that I eat more of this snack than can be healthy but I really hope that isn't the case. Especially as I've just finished a plateful...

11. Catching up with friends
This has been a great week for seeing people I hadn't had a chance to see yet. Cue a lot of meals out and a lot of lovely conversation!!

12. Modcloth sponsoring The Lovely Ones

The lovely folk at Modcloth have sent us a dress for us to style in our clothes swap. The lovely Ashley has it first but as we live in the same town she's passing it onto me this week. Can't wait!!

13. Exciting stuff here at GNDF
This week I have a giveaway, LOTS of inspiration and my Blogger of the Month!! Stay tuned!!

Hope you had a lovely weekend!!

Charlotte xxx

Saturday, 29 January 2011

She's a Rebel

I was so worried about these photos. I really liked this outfit and I just thought it deserved to be shot outside. It's getting warmer here, it was only -4 Celsius today so I decided to brave it. There's so much pressure taking pictures outside- you have to hope you managed to take enough good ones before you get too cold!! I'm really happy with these pictures. I'm sorry I didn't move around too much- my tripod gets so cold because it's metal! I'm glad I got a chance to go outside again though. I may have to just start being brave!!

I am so happy with this dress. I know I've worn it quite a few times lately (here, here and here), but it is such a versatile piece. I love the girly lace and the long sleeves. It's really fun to take it in the complete opposite direction and toughen it up a little bit, which was what I tried to do here with the military jacket, but I wanted to keep it girly and feminine with the knee socks and brogues. I'm really looking forward to trying it with a leather jacket and ankle boots or to go completely the other way, a girly cardigan and nude flats.

lace dress- Topshop via ebay
military cardigan- H&M
knee socks- River Island
shoes- Target

I absolutely love River Island's over-the-knee socks. They are just so cosy and they do actually go over-the-knee. I think they are much more flattering than ones that just hit the knee. I have these socks in black, grey and beige now. I can't wait until it gets a little bit warmer and I can wear knee socks more. I love black opaques but they get so boring in the winter because they're all I ever seem to wear!!

Sorry for another really photo-heavy post. I promise I will start cutting it down to less than 10 pictures- I was just really happy with these and really glad I went outside to take them, despite it still being a bit chilly. You can definitely see my remote in quite a lot of them though- I need to find out what people do to disguise their remotes!! I have really small hands so I can never keep it concealed!! I know, just ruining the illusion, aren't I?

Hope you have plans for a lovely weekend!! I'll be back tomorrow.

Charlotte xxx

Friday, 28 January 2011

You look so good in blue

I have had my entire Fall Out Boy collection on shuffle the last few days. I feel 15 again. I am still yet to organize my iTunes so I currently have no playlists. I'm a real Top Rated girl- I swear I only listen to about 10% of my musical library, yet I always need more!! Next stop is stealing music from the boy.

As you will see from these pictures, this outfit went through a few revisions. It does not react well to having anything belted over. I learnt this after having my gilet belted over it for most of the morning. I now realise that belted the gilet makes me look enormous. I think it is to do with the shape of the dress. It's very, very fitted just under the bust (I couldn't breathe when I first bought it!!) and then it flares out. If you belt it at the waist it just looks really bulky (see here). These photos are a mix of belted, un-belted and without the gilet. I really wanted to wear my brown tights today but I was running late and couldn't find them.

This dress was a total bargain too- £20 in the Top Shop sale after Christmas! I was really hesitant in buying it but now I really love it. I'm really starting to be drawn to simple dresses in block colours. It just means you can have more fun remixing them!! It creases really badly though, as you can see!!

Today I am chilling in the library trying to get as much done as possible. I had a bit of an overwhelming to-do list, but I love that once you break it down into how much you need to do each day it never seems quite so bad. As I have probably mentioned, the boy is in Vegas this weekend so at least I have one less distraction!! My friend Michelle and I are planning to have a lot of fun this weekend- starting with a party tonight!!

dress- topshop
gilet- miss selfridge
shoes- new look
owl necklace- forever 21
belt- primark

Sorry for the kinda-picture-heavy post. I'm really happy with the way these pictures turned out. I'm even starting to quite like taking pictures in the privacy of my own apartment. If nobody is in I can take ages playing with angles and poses and camera settings. I hate taking them in my lobby because people are always walking past and I just feel so awkward!! I would have gone outside today, but as you see, I am not wearing a cardigan and Duluth is having a major snow-storm today. If I look out of the window all I see is foggy whiteness. Still, snow here means it's getting warmer!!

Hope you have an exciting weekend planned!! Let me know what you think of today's outfit and photos :]]]

Charlotte xxx

Friend Friday- 28/1

Ooh it's Friend Friday again!! I really, really love the questions this week- they really relate to my photography post  from Wednesday. I'm really interested to see which cameras different bloggers use and what technology I really need to add to my collection.

1. What technology do you use in blogging? (computer, camera, video
camera, tripod, etc...)

I always used a little Sony Point and Shoot which was a great starting point, and I started out with a Gorillapod for a while before progressing to just a cheap tripod, which has been a lifesaver!! I now use the Canon Rebel T2i (D550) and a remote. I use GIMP and/or Photoshop for editing and my laptop.

2. What computer and online technology do you use? (blogging system,
photo storage, photo editing tools, etc..)

I moved from Wordpress to Blogger back in August; a controversial move, I know. I love blogger though and the freedom I have with it. I feel like it is definitely the preferred platform for style bloggers. It feels much more like a community than Wordpress did. I don't use a lot of online technology- just the usual; Facebook, Twitter, GoogleReader, Photobucket  and Tumblr occasionally and like I said earlier, I use either Photoshop or GIMP for editing and design.

3. What is your process for taking pictures?

Ooh I can't wait to read the answers for this question!! My photo process is changing as I get used to the move from Point and Shoot to DSLR. Previously, I would get my tripod ready, set it to multiple shoot and self timer. Then set the self timer, run in front of the camera and move around for 5 different poses. Repeat. I usually end up with around 100 photos from each shoot. I usually like and edit between 7-15.
Now I am getting more into perfecting one picture at a time, plus having a remote gives me much more freedom. I am getting used to my camera a little more now and I'm learning about what it can do.
Once the photos are taken they go on my laptop where I go through and choose my favourites. Those get edited and then go on my blog.

4. When it comes to backdrops for your photos what do you consider? Do
you scout locations or shoot the same spot daily?

When I'm back home I love to take photos in my garden. Over here though it's been a little too cold lately. I love taking photos outside in the snow though- they just love amazing here. Most of my outside photos here have been taken just outside my apartment. The inside ones are usually in my building against a white wall or in my apartment. I don't have a car here so going out and about with a tripod and a bulky DSLR isn't really an  option, but if someone is taking my photos for me I love to go to new places. As it gets warmer I'm hoping to me more ambitious in my backdrops. I love outside photos most of all. It's always worth the frost bite.

5. If you could splurge and get one new piece of equipment what would

you be buying? 

At the moment I really want a portrait lens. That is the first thing on my list when I get more experience with my camera!!

To read what other bloggers have said on this week's topic, go here!!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Dirty Little Secret

Okay, if I tell you something you have to promise not to tell, okay? I actually wore this outfit yesterday. And then again today. WAIT let me make excuses. First of all, this skirt is way too big (I couldn't decide between the small and the medium and got the medium. stupid.) so yesterday I wore this with the cardigan belted over and really, really hated it. But I stayed at my boyfriend's last night and thought, well, I didn't like this outfit anyway and not much goes with this skirt so I'll wear it again tomorrow until I get home and get changed. But then when I got home this morning I realised how much I liked the outfit without the belt. So I decided to be gross. Don't judge me!!

These photos aren't amazing, but they're getting better. I had a real play with my camera today when I took them. I did feel really inspired after my photography post yesterday. Thank you for your lovely comments on that one!! My boyfriend's portrait lens arrived today so I'm continuing to beg him to take my pictures for me!! I really need to get out of my apartment to take pictures, but I'm spending a lot longer on taking them that I feel like an idiot in the corridor downstairs and it's still a little too chilly to be outside.

I'm having a really nice week. My friend Michelle got back from England at weekend and we went for a (very!!) long lunch yesterday, which was amazing. We're planning a super-fun weekend cause a lot of our friends (including my boy) are off to Vegas this weekend so we need to have an equally fun time!! Tonight I'm going out for dinner with a friend and then tomorrow is a day of homework to get ready for the weekend!!

skirt- forever 21
vest top- topshop
brogues- new look
cardigan- new look
necklace- primark
lipstick- rimmel in funtime fuschia

I've been stuck in a little bit of a style rut the last few days so yesterday I started to write a "Remix List". I love coming up with new outfit combinations- it makes getting ready in a morning so much less stressful and much more fun. I started out by writing down all the dresses I have that can be easily remixed, and then a list of cardigans, jackets and gilets that can be mixed with them. I then started going through and coming up with new combinations. Then I started adding in skirts, shorts and tops for more fun. If you're new to remixing, and even if you're not, go head over to KendiEveryday- she has a fabulous post today on remixing.

Well, have a lovely day. I'll be back tomorrow!!

Charlotte xxx

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Photography Inspiration.

For me, style blogging and photography go hand-in-hand. A blogger can be the best writer in the world, but the blogs that catch attention are those with beautiful pictures. Go on LookBook- you can guarantee (whether fairly or not) that the featured outfits are always beautifully shot, whether they really are the most stylish outfits or not.

I was never really interested in photography until I started blogging. I don't think I really had an appreciation for how difficult photography is, how hard it is to get it right. When I started taking my own outfit photos I started out taking them in the mirror (oh dear) before progressing to a gorillapod and later a full-size tripod.

As those of you who follow my blog will know, when I first started to hang out with Ashley of Two Eyes in The Mirror I realised the impact that a DSLR can have on outfit photos. I don't think I ever appreciated how beautiful simple outfit photos could be. Ashley a really fantastic photographer (see below!!) and she really inspired me to work harder with my photos.

After playing with an rented DSLR myself from the library I was lucky enough to get the Canon Rebil T2i at Christmas as an early 21st present. I am still a complete beginner at photography but I'm starting to read more about what my camera can do and learning about aperture, shutter speed, F-stop and all that other wonderful stuff!!

So this is just a short post on some of the photography that has inspired me and the kinds of photos I really want to be able to take myself.

Carrie of wishwishwish

Carrie's photography is constantly beautiful and inspiring. This shoot is one of my favourite shoots ever. I love everything about it. I also love the theme-ness of it- I love the use of the suitcase as a prop. This makes me really want to take more creative and fun photographs.

Annie is fairly new to the DSLR world but I love her playful poses and her fun pictures. I love the way she plays with focus and often features herself as a blur in the background. I definitely want to try these kinds of photographs.

Keiko's photos are always so beautiful and sharply focused. I love the way she plays with perspective and poses. She is also one of the few bloggers who features beautiful indoor photos- something I really need to work on here in freezing Minnesota!!

Tieka (and Brett!!) of Selective Potential

When Tieka posted these photos on her blog this week I just fell in love. They are just such beautiful, exiting, fun photos. I love that Tieka's photos always feature her somewhere doing something fun with her husband. I really like how the setting works into her outfits and pictures.

I really, really love Ashley's photography. She uses the same camera as I do so she really needs to teach me a thing or too!! I really love her soft-focused close ups and blurred backgrounds. God knows how she is still taking outfit pictures outside here in Duluth though!!

I also really wanted to feature my friend Rosie but Flick won't let me steal her photos, but you can view them here. She is a fantastic photographer and I really love her work.

I have also found some great resources for taking photographs online. Thanks to IFB for How To Take Gorgeous Self Portraits and Five Tips For Taking Better Photos of Yourself.

I hope this was inspiring and/or helpful :]]] Proper post tomorrow- I hated my outfit today!!

Charlotte xxx