Requested: "How Do You Even Blog?" Part Two - Your Questions Answered

Hey lovelies,

Today I have answers to your questions! These questions were posed to me by my lovely PANZ gals, but if you have further questions just let me know in the comments.

How do you store your lipsticks to easily find them?
I recently picked up these plastic trays with dividers from Japan City in Wellington. By fluke, they fit perfectly side by side in my helmer drawers! I really like these because I can store my lipsticks with the label/colour showing to make it easy to find what I'm after. I definitely need to go back for more because pictured below is not even close to being all of my lipsticks... 


How do you find time for it all along with your kiddies?
I pick my moments and try to get a lot done in any free time I have - blogging is my 'me time', so if Patrick's taking a nap and Noel's occupied, you can bet I'll be photographing as many product photos or swatches as I can! I find chipping away a little at a time on a lot of things works really well for me.
Taking FOTD photos is a lot easier to manage than a lot of the other wee tasks. Noel is often happy to pose with me (he's such a ham!) and if you look closely you can sometimes spot Patrick in the crook of my arm in some photos - like this one!

I also make use of a frontpack so that Patrick can snooze, be close to me or even breastfeed while I swatch or work on the computer. We have an Ergobaby which I'm wearing in the picture below.

Patrick's favourite thing ever is bouncing so he's often super happy hanging out in his jolly jumper for a bit while I do blog stuff. Here he is playing with some toys.

One thing I try to keep in mind is that all the blog and makeup stuff can wait. There will be sun for swatching another day (this is less of a concern now that I'm using daylight bulbs), I don't have to get all my makeup done at once (I often apply it on stages as the day allows), it's not the end of the world if my polish smudges etc etc. At the end of the day, blogging is a hobby and my kids come first.
That being said, I think it's really important for parents to have something in their lives that helps them maintain their sense of self. Makeup and polish is something I really look to provide that for me, which is why I like to make time for it.
Mike's also great at occupying the boys in the evenings sometimes so I can chip away at photo editing and writing. Now and then I pull late nights once all the boys are in bed so I can get a big chunk of stuff done at once. I sometimes regret that when I'm draining my third coffee the next day, but I do really treasure those late nights, tapping away at my own pace, largely uninterrupted and indulging in musical guilty pleasures, like Josh Groban, or the Cabaret soundtrack ^_^
I touched on this in Part One, but 90% of my writing is done one handed using a clunky laptop in our lounge while Patrick snoozes on me or feeds :) Occasionally if I really want to get something done but also want to be snuggly & warm I'll use the tablet to write from in bed. Only if I've already formatted the post in advance though, because I use the Blogger desktop site and that's a bit trickier on a tablet (I don't like the app). I dragged the old laptop down to the bedroom last week when the boys were sick and were camped out in the master bedroom with me. I worked from there while they dozed, that was really nice.


How does your partner cope with your obsession? Has he ever told you to stop buying?
One of the things about Mike and I is that we're very respectful of one another's passions. He loves football, tinkering, beer making and video games, I love makeup, nail polish and crafting. We don't mess with each other's hobbies unless there's something harmful really... so Mike reminds me not to leave polish remover around the kids, and I remind him not to leave beer bottle caps around them ^_^
We also use our respective spending money for whatever we like and don't involve the other in that decision-making process. We're on one income at the moment as my paid maternity leave has finished, so once the spending money we've budgeted out for is gone, it's gone, tough cookies! I think Mike would only tell me to stop buying if I was spending all my money in a day and then complaining about it, which would be fair enough.


What size is that nail vinyl on your helmer if I was to get one?
I got the I <3 Polish sticker from Nail Vinyls on Storenvy. It's the small size and the measurements listed are 'slightly smaller than 2"x3"' - you can buy one here.

What's the best blogging platform?
I think this one all comes down to personal choice! I've only ever used Blogger, so I can't comment on the others available. I've heard great things about Wordpress though. I started with Blogger because it was already connected with my Google accounts, which made it super easy to get started.


How do you get through your collection? How do you rotate through and get use from everything?
I'm not great at this, to be honest. There are always products I favour, particularly whatever is currently residing in my makeup bag, while others languish for months at a time. I used to participate in a Shop Your Stash thread on, which encouraged participants to make use of products they'd already had for quite some time and that was really helpful. I need to get back into that! At the moment I'm wearing a lot of products that I'm currently testing, or tried and true stuff. I also spreadsheet my collection, so I found it handy to use a random number generator to choose a makeup item as a starting point sometimes.


Do you schedule posts? How far ahead of time? Do you keep a list or use a planner?
Definitely! I'd never be able to post as regularly as I do without scheduling. I've utilised the schedule feature on Blogger ever since I first started blogging. I'll often write and schedule batches of similar posts at once, like the Fyrinnae A Day and Bottle Shot Spam posts.
I don't use a planner, but I do have a few days I like to do set posts on (Bottle Shot Spam on Mondays, Twinsy Thursdays, Femme Fatale Fridays and FOTDs on Sundays) so I kind of slot everything around them. Or sometimes in conjunction with them if I have a lot to get through, or I'm doing a daily feature that may not appeal to all my readers, like A Fyrinnae A Day.
I do keep a to do list on a blogging spreadsheet, which also contains a list of products I plan to review and where I'm at with them, ideas and so forth.

I try to create drafts for everything I'd like to review as soon as I remember so that I can start chipping away. I find that if I don't have a draft set up I'm more likely to accidentally forget about it.


Can I borrow your children for cuddles?
Why yes, yes you can.


What camera you use?
I use a Canon 400D with an 18-55mm lens I've had for almost 8 years. I'd like to upgrade one day because it is starting to throw a few random errors, but so far it's served me well. 


What base coat and top coats do you favour?
I chop and change a bit, but at the moment I like Butter London Nail Foundation and OPI Nail Envy for basecoats and Glisten & Glow HK Girl is my HG thanks to Annemarie (Gimikd Girl). She bought me some for my birthday last year, and if you'd told me prior to that that I'd ever deviate from Seche Vite, I wouldn't have believed you! HK Girl has all of the things I love about Seche Vite, without the shrinking or cracking.


Do you have any tips for photographing your eyes/lips/nails?
Nothing I can explain concisely :D Play with your camera and find what works for you. I know some people have flip out screens on their cameras or can remote shoot with live view, my camera is a bit too old for those things. My tactic with eyes and lips is to bring my lens right up close to what I am photographing (until it hits my eyebrow, if I'm photographing eye makeup) and then moving the camera slowly and steadily away in a straight line until it's about the distance you'd use to hold a car's steering wheel. Then I just go nuts snapping away and tilting my camera and face at slightly different angles, occasionally turning the camera around so I can check the LCD to see if I'm on track.
So yes... not very precise or technical and I'm sure there are a million better ways of doing it, but that's what currently works for me.
Nails are easier, it's just about finding your pose, practising your pose (I often catch myself doing that without thinking!)... and lighting, which is a whole other kettle of fish, one I don't think I've nailed enough to discuss in great detail.


How long have you been blogging, why did you start and what is your favourite part about blogging?
I started blogging in November 2012. I'd been meaning to for a long time, and then I posted a swatch of Daddy's Girl on Girly Bits' Facebook wall and was asked if I had a blog to give credit to when sharing. I got my butt into gear and launched the blog shortly after!
I decided to start the blog because I wanted to share my pictures - I'd been photographing my manis for quite some time already and I was pretty sure my friends were getting sick of my nails clogging up their Facebook feeds. I also wanted a place to review beauty products and post swatches with more personalisation than Makeup Alley or Basically, I wanted an outlet for that stuff, and at that time PANZ was only a tiny tiny group (I don't think NZ Makeup Junkies had even launched at the time) so it didn't really feel like enough. These days I think I fill a niche by swatching a lot of Korean cosmetics, which can be hard to find swatches for, and I've started to focus more on indies of late too.
My favourite part about blogging is when people approach me, unsolicited, to say how much they enjoyed a post, or my lip swatches, or the blog as a whole. I pour so much love and time into the blog, it's just the best feeling when that effort is making someone else happy too.


What's your favourite colour ever? 
Green foreverrrrrrrr!!

Star Kin Blogiversary


What's your favourite brand?
I can't say I really have one! I love so many for a myriad of reasons, from the budget friendly to high end. I guess I'll always have a soft spot for MAC, because it was one of the first big brands I really got into.


I want Lani's perfectly smooth lips (in the most non-creepy way) and swatching skills. What's your lipbalm of choice, any one in particular?
Ahhhh thank you! When I'm swatching, I use a lip brush to outline darker shades before filling them in from the tube and go straight from the tube with lighter shades most of the time.
My lipbalm of choice changes pretty often and depends on the state of my lips. I've been a long time user of Lip Smackers for the day to day but I finally used up all of my untinted ones. At the moment I'm using and loving Maybelline Baby Lips. I also really like the Blistex Medicated Relief balm for really intense hydration and healing. Water is the most important thing though. I've been enjoying a cheeky cider in the evenings now and then of late and even that minimal amount of alcohol is drying out my lips a lot. More water!!


What's your current lighting set up?
I've recently started using a 3 point lighting set up which I'm really enjoying, though improvements can always be made. It uses two 45w E27 5500k bulbs in lamps with flexible arms and an 85w E27 5500k bulb in a softbox. I'd like to get another softbox, or a ring light in the future.

Any more questions? Let me know!


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  1. WOW :o Love your draw of lipsticks! & your lighting set up etc! So fab ;) Great post Lani x

  2. AnonymousJune 05, 2014

    Great article and honest post..really enjoyed reading it... I am new in the world of blogging and realized that it is not as easy as I thought it to be..I am enjoying it now but was thinking how will I be able to manage in future.. With kids n all..ur post totally inspired me to keep going..

    1. Awww, that's awesome pinktrends! I'm so glad!

  3. Awesome post!! It was almost like a magician revealing his tricks muhahahaha