Side-hustle staples: The tools you need to start blogging & creating photos

So you want to start a blog/Instagram account and have no clue where to start?

I started A Pop of Colour back in 2011 and although it’s been eight years, it certainly doesn’t feel that long! I’ve had numerous people through the years ask me for advice on where to start, and although it seems like a lot of work (and it definitely is!), to me, it’s fun work and I’ve gotten so many opportunities through the years that I wouldn’t have been able to get without doing this.

So where to start? Well, first decide what you want to talk about and your blog’s overall theme. On here I mostly chat about beauty, with lifestyle and travel occasionally thrown in, but on Instagram I mainly theme my feed around lifestyle and travel with beauty and fashion thrown in. Once you have your theme down, then it’s time to create your actual platform. For my blog I use WordPress to manage my site, which is one of the more popular hosts. Before creating a WordPress site, I highly recommend purchasing a domain and then hosting WordPress through there. Although you can get a free WordPress site, your address would be yourblog.wordpress.com, whereas if you host it on WordPress.org, you can attach your domain directly to it.

Olay products flatly using items from Staples Canada

Once you’re up and running (you’ll need to purchase a hosting account as well, I did everything through Go Daddy), choose a theme (you can buy one, choose a free one, or get someone to customize one for you) and then you can start to customize your site. Although I chose to design my first logo through InDesign so many years ago, I highly recommend using Canva to customize a logo special for your site. They have so many cool templates that you can play around with for a truly unique look.

Okay, so once your site is ready to go, it’s time to publish your first post! Since I write a lot about beauty, I create a ton of flatlays, which also get published often to my Instagram account. A flatlay is a collection of items that is stylized in a way that is appealing to the viewer. Although it looks super easy to create a flatlay, it definitely takes a ton of practice and having a collection of the right items certainly helps as well.

Setting up a flatly using items from Staples Canada

When it comes to shopping for these prop items, I typically like popping into a stationary store like Staples Canada to get all my items in one place. Not only will Staples have an assortment of items for the actual photo itself, if you are in need of an actual camera and laptop to create everything, Staples is also a great resource for that as well. I work on an Apple MacBook Pro and use a Canon Rebel T5i camera (you can shop the T6 or T7) with the lens kit and a 40 mm lens. With that being said, a lot of times I use my iPhone 8 Plus to take a lot of my flatlay images and use apps on my iPhone to edit them. Staples Canada sells all these items, so if you are looking for a one-stop shop, then I highly recommend popping in.

So what items do I recommend for flatlays? Well surprisingly you don’t need too much stuff! In fact, most of my images feature the same props, I just style them all differently. Also, the way you edit the photo also really helps to make the image unique. For the majority of my images I will also put down a marble wrapping paper which doubles nicely as a marble countertop or floor. Usually then I will put another texture over top to add some dimension to the image. A lot of times I will use a white fur rug or if I want to change it up, I will throw down a poster board in a fun shade to add a little oomph to the photo.

Marble wrapping paper and grey board from Staples Canada Setting up a flatlay using items from Staples Canada

Other prop items I love adding in is a cute book or journal, as well as fun pens, flowers, or cute little items. The idea here is that the items complement that the objects that you are highlighting in the post. So for example, in the Olay photos above, I used a couple notebooks,  a pink pencil case, a notepad, and some highlighters in fun colours that can also double as pens. Since I already had a marble background, I put down these cute marble notecards on the grey part so they tie everything in. Other items I like to include are some bigger items, like the FujiFilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera, as well as a cute phone case.

For a different flatlay, I used a couple of the same items from the first one (the marble card, post-its from the notepad set, the pink pouch, and the phone case), and then swapped in a couple different notebooks and some twinkle lights to add some pop to the whole photo.

Flatlay of NYX lipsticks with items from Staples Canada

Once I have my shots, I usually edit them in Adobe Photoshop for my blog and then Adobe Lightroom for Instagram (I came up with my own filter), as well as VSCO and FaceTune to make the marble a little whiter and add a little more detail on the items that the photo is centred around. And then that’s it!

I know this sounds like so much work, but once you get the hang of it, it really doesn’t take too long. Also, having the right equipment and props definitely makes things so much easier. You’re going to want to spend as much time getting practice taking and styling your shots, so Staples Canada is a great place to pop into to pick up everything up all in one place.

I know this sounds like so much work, but once you get the hang of it, it really doesn’t take too long. Also, having the right equipment and props definitely makes things so much easier. You’re going to want to spend as much time getting practice taking and styling your shots, so Staples Canada is a great place to pop into to pick up everything up all in one place.

So what are you waiting for? Stop procrastinating and get started!

Setting up the perfect flatlay using items from Staples Canada

Do you have any tips for creating the perfect flatlay? Which programs do you use for your photos?

Please note, this post is sponsored by Staples Canada. All opinions are my own.

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On the line: NYX Line & Load All-In-One Lippie

Looking for a simple lip kit to throw in your bag?  Want one product instead of two? Too lazy to bust out a lipliner?  Then NYX Cosmetics has you covered.

New to the brand, the Line & Load All-In-One Lippies is a matte liquid lip colour that works like a liquid lipstick and liner all in one.  This innovative lipstick features a slim applicator that is designed for you to first line your lips and then fill them in with the matte creamy colour.  This product comes in eight different shades from brights to nudes and is definitely unlike anything else in my collection.

NYX Line & Load All-In-One Lippie

I received five of the eight shades and was totally intrigued with the applicator.  At first, by just looking at the box I thought it was a lip liner, but upon opening the slim tube, I saw how this product actually works.  The applicator is very slim (kinda looks like a stick IMO) and definitely works well to line your lips using the tip and then glide it on your lips to fill them in.

As for the actual wear of the product, I do find that these are very comfortable on the lips and last a long time with minimal touchups throughout the day.  It may be a weird looking product, but it definitely does the trick (plus the container itself is very slim, leaving you with tons more real estate in your bag for other necessities).

NYX Line & Load All-In-One Lippie NYX Line & Load All-In-One Lippie swatches

These are currently on sale on the NYX site but I’m hoping that they come out with more shades to choose from soon. I think that this is truly an innovative product and love how they took two items and essentially merged them together into one killer lip product.

Do you use a lip liner with your lipsticks?

Please note, products provided by PR. All opinions are my own.

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Matte + marvellous: Rimmel London Stay Matte face collection

I love myself some matte skin, so when I saw that Rimmel London expanded their Stay Matte collection, I just had to get my hands on it.

Expanding on the powder and primer, brand new to the collection is a liquid mousse foundation and concealer.  The Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation (C$8.98), available in 23 shades, is a light mousse foundation that blends seamlessly on the skin, leaving with you a matte finish and long wear. Since the formula is a mousse, it’s very creamy and light in texture and melts into the skin for an ultra-matte, soft finish that doesn’t feel heavy.

Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation

I received three shades of this to try out and first off, I have to say that I’m so happy that Rimmel has released such an expansive shade range.  There truly is a shade for most skin tones (and I say that only because other lines have upwards of 40 shades, but this foundation does run the gamut from very light to very dark) and it’s a very comfortable wear on the skin.  I’m typically not the biggest fan of the mousse formula, but this is very comfortable to wear and glides on wonderfully. I also found it to be long lasting, although I did use this with the powder for some extra bit of wear.

Also new to the line is the Stay Matte Soft Matte Concealer (C$9.49), available in 20 shades, and is a creamy, long-wearing concealer that helps to hide imperfections, dark circles, and give you a flawless complexion. Rimmel says it’s humidity-proof, sweat-proof, and heat-proof, and since it’s matte, don’t expect to see shine for 24 hours.

Rimmel London Stay Matte Soft-Matte Concealer

I actually really like this concealer, I think it does a good job of brightening up the face and covering any imperfections on my skin.  I love that it has a doe-foot applicator to apply the product, making it easy to target the areas that need it most on the skin. This concealer promises a 24-hour wear, a 24-hour shine control, help skin look less fatigued, and give you a comfortable wear.   Although I obviously didn’t wear this for 24 hours, I did wear it for probably at least 16 and have to say it held up well from morning to night. By the end of the day, obviously my face didn’t look as luminous as first thing in the morning, but I didn’t think I required a touchup at all.

Also included in the line is the Stay Matte Primer (C$8.98), which can be worn as a matte base before applying your foundation or just help to mattify shiny or oily skin. This stuff is also lightweight and minimizes the appearance of pores and controls shine for up to eight hours.  I found it was a nice base to apply underneath the Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation and they worked really well together.

Rimmel London Stay Matte pressed powder, primer, and spray Rimmel London Stay Matte pressed powder, primer, and spray

For some touchups throughout the day, take a look at the Stay Matte Pressed Powder (C$7.98), which is available in eight shades and gives you up to five hours of natural shine control. It’s made with natural minerals and helps to minimize the appearance of pores as well. I found that the powder also paired really nicely with the foundation to help set it and give me that extra layer of matteness (honestly, this whole line worked really well together). I wish there were more shades to choose from, but if they don’t have your shade, Rimmel also offers a translucent version of this powder.

Finally, to complete the collection, make sure you spray the Stay Matte Fix & Go Setting Spray, which is a two-in-one primer and setting spray that helps lock makeup into place. This product is great because you can use this as a primer and setting spray, making it more cost conscious, as well as perfect for travel. Spray this on to prolong and enhance the wear of your makeup. It also helps to control shine and leaves your skin looking matte all day.

Rimmel London Stay Matte complexion line swatched Makeup look using Rimmel London Stay Matte collection

Overall, I really liked these products. I love how there is a whole line of products in the Stay Matte formula so that you can use everything together for the perfect matte complexion. I wouldn’t say this is my favourite drugstore face line, but it does a great job and you can definitely pick up your favourite items to complement your existing routine.

Do you like matte products for your complexion?

Products provided by PR. All opinions are my own.

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