30 April 2012

weekend in review: YM&C and some insecurities

This weekend I ate out for pretty much every single meal.  On Saturday I had breakfast with Z at IHOP, then met my friend Sara at Panera for lunch, then joined my family (including my aunt, who lives in Phoenix and hasn't been to California since my grandmother's funeral in 2007) at El Charro in Montrose for a yummy dinner (during which I got to play with my awesome two-year-old cousin Rowan for most of the time!).

On Sunday, my cousins Sophia and Mackie (they're twins) celebrated their third birthday with a Disney Princess bounce-house!  They LOVED it.  And us grown-ups loved our champagne brunch as we watched.  Then Z and I have Chipotle for dinner in between the moving in of our new kitchen appliances (!!).  We've lived in our new home for three months and have been living with just a mini fridge and a microwave -- now we're fully-equipped with oven & stove-top, full refrigerator, and washer-dryer!  YES!!

Some Instagram love from the weekend:

Anna Delores home decor self portrait saturday Anna Delores blog Fiona Apple Blowfish shoes nail manicure DIY
Left to right, top to bottom: (1) New kitchen appliances: I never thought I'd be so excited about an oven; (2) Self portrait Saturday; (3) chandeliers in trees in someone's front yard, Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California; (4) bought Fiona Apple tickets on Friday!  She is one of the musical acts I've always wanted to see live but haven't yet had the chance; (5) My new Blowfish wedges getting their first whiff of downtown Los Angeles air; (6) Mint nails with an accent of white & pink polka dots.

This morning, my week started off right with the debut of my Q&A feature over at Dianna Agron's blog, You, Me & Charlie!  They asked me some good, thought-provoking questions; hope you'll head over and check out the who feature, but here are my favorite highlights:

YM&C: If you could interview one person, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Emily: I wish you hadn’t said “person” because I’d really love to interview my dog!  And I have so many questions!  Do you like the food I give you?  Do you prefer walks or the dog park?  What’s your real motivation behind licking me?  What are you thinking when you stare at me?  Are you happy?

YM&C: What question would you like to ask the You, Me & Charlie community?
Emily: If you could wake up tomorrow with a new career (totally trained and ready to go without the need for transition), what job would you choose, and how far a digression is it from what you’re doing now?

Check out my front-page status on You, Me & Charlie!  :)

Finally, I think I need to take a moment to channel my inner Eeyore.  The cyber friends I've made in the few short months that I've been blogging, and in the Etsy community before that, are kinda important to me -- maybe that sounds weird or lame, since I don't know most (any?) of them in "real life."  But I think it's pretty cool that a community of handmade, creative bloggers seems to have formed, and I've enjoyed wiggling my way into what I consider a very cool circle of ladies.  It makes the Internet (even more) fun and boosts my self-esteem when I'm able to connect with other like-minded indie business owners.

My insecurity comes from the fact that I AM still pretty new to the blogging world so I'm still finding my voice and carving my niche (which is sorta true for photography, still, too -- Anna Delores Photography is only a year old, after all!).  My desire to be liked and accepted by others sneaks in and maybe even sabotages me a little, because maybe I blog about certain topics in an attempt to fit in more than I do to give myself an HONEST voice.  I try very hard to stay true to myself, and I think for the most part I succeed -- I just have the occasional moments of self-doubt: "was that a stupid comment to make?" "Did I tweet one too many times this past hour and scare off any followers?" "Am I asking too much?" "Should I include my URL in this comment or is that too self-promote-y?"

I also recently connected with a fellow blogger-slash-graphic-designer to give my blog a freshening-up (doesn't it look great?!), but because I am still solidifying my brand, I was all over the place with my ideas, and even though I TRIED to be as un-annoying as possible, I don't think I succeeded.  I may just be uber-sensitive, but this blogger that I look up to (as much as is possible via online interaction) seems like she's keeping our interactions to a minimum, even after I sent a "sorry if I seem a little crazy" e-mail, and the whole experience makes me feel a little unsettled.

Sorry to be so Debbie-Downer; I like to be as positive as possible around here and I think we ALL want to project our more awesome selves into the blog-o-sphere, but once in awhile, I just gotta get real.  And let's face it, it's not all rainbows and unicorns ALL the time (even if sometimes we make it look that way).

{ UPDATE : things I'm afraid to tell you }

Thanks for listening and allowing me to rant (although I guess you couldn't have stopped me, eh?).  ;)  Here's to Monday and back to all smiles on Tuesday!


mani monday nail tutorial: ombre manicure

The ombre manicure made its appearance as a trend last summer, and it's back for 2012.  You can go matte, shimmer, glitter, or merge colors on one nail with sneaky makeup tool tricks -- but I'm giving you the EASY version today, just to get you started.

When I first saw this, I thought I'd need five different polishes in the same color family, just lighter and darker versions of each other.  I knew I had enough polishes to make it happen (I think I have 15+ polishes just in pinks), but shades can vary so much -- some are warm tones, some are cool tones, some are shimmery, some are matte, etc.  But THEN I realized (with the help of an In Style post): all you REALLY need is one dark polish and one white polish.  See where I'm going with this?

For my color inspiration, I decided on "Devious," a midnight purple shade in a creamy matte (no shimmer) that I got from Ulta.  For white, I used Sephora by OPI in "A-ha! Moment," a bright opaque white.

What you'll need:
  • Dark shade nail polish in your color of choice
  • Creamy white nail polish
  • Base coat + top coat (optional, but recommended)
  • Drying drops (optional)
  • Toothpicks or cuticle sticks for mixing
  • Paper plate to use as your palette

Perhaps this is a no-brainer, but I recommend doing all your manicure prep before pouring and mixing colors, as once you measure out your polish, it (of course) starts to dry.  Because I got excited and poured my polish before applying my base coat (Nicole by OPI Base Coat Plus), the polish was a little thick and had already started to harden when I was ready to apply.  My end result wasn't as tidy as it should've been, since I was negotiating with half-dry polish.  Gross.

Measure out four dollops of your dark polish (I originally did five because I was thinking, five fingers, right?  But for the fifth one, you can use the original color out of the bottle, of course!  Duh, Emily).  Add drops of white to each, one at a time -- mix as you go so you can see if you need to go lighter or darker, and adjust the remaining "swatches" accordingly.  I had to fuss with mine a little to get the right gradient of colors.

And voilĂ !  You've got your ombre palette.  You can start at whichever end you like (your pinkie or your thumb) -- I opted for starting dark on my pinkie and then working my way over, but you can do it the other direction, too, of course!  It's up to you.

And that's it!  I TOLD you it was easy-peasy.  Finish with your favorite top coat and some lacquer-drying drops (just 1-2 drops per nail) -- I used OPI Top Coat and Nicole by OPI Drying Drops.

You can do this with pretty much any color as long as it's dark enough to begin with; the darker the shade, the greater your flexibility in making the gradient as dramatic as you like.  I could've gone a lot lighter on my thumb color and thus had a more dramatic dark-to-light transition (as it is, the shades on my pinkie and ring finger look almost the same unless you're examining them in bright sunlight!).  Still, I like the subtlety of a tame gradient.  Experiment with the colors and make it your own!

A few other color ideas to get you excited (don't you love that glitter?  Courtesy of Lauren Conrad over at The Beauty Department):

And this is a whole other level (I think this is the true 2012 reincarnation of the ombre nail, but I'm just not ready yet; it will end up looking like this: "nailed it"):

Enjoy, and let me know if you try this out -- I want to see!  :)


29 April 2012

Share the Beauty: lip service.


This week is all about LIP care.  I wanted to start things off with some imagery of just what you're dealing with if you ask me about lip products (and honestly, this is a small, small sample):

My makeup collection in general, and my lip gloss/balm/stick collection in particular, is excessive to say the least!  It's also hard for me to avoid buying new which, as you can see, is ridiculous.  

Alright, now that that's out of the way (and I hope gives me SOME clout while we're talking about lip goodies), I bring your attention to my newest favorites:

Smashbox "Be Legendary" lipstick in "Nylon Nude"

I have and LOVE Smashbox's "Nylon Nude" lipstick, but don't have a photo of myself wearing it that demonstrates the subtlety and loveliness of the color the way this model does, so there you have it.  ;)

Next up is Fabulips Sugar Scrub by Bliss -- I've been looking for a good lip buffer for awhile.  Especially if you do wear a lot of lip color or it's a season change, scrubbing your lips to get rid of dead skin (ick) is a must.

Ta-da!  There you have it: my top recommendations for springtime lip excitement.  :)  I also always have a good clear or soft pink high-shine gloss in my bag (like this one or this one) and a good anti-feather lip primer is EXCELLENT, especially if you're wearing darker colors that might bleed easily (less important with nudes, as color bleeding is harder to see with those shades).  The Anti-Feathering Lip Pencil by Too Faced is decent, but I REALLY love the Irene Gari Anti-Feathering Lip Base, as it goes on like a lip balm (and feels moisturizing, too!).  One of the best parts (other than the fact that it WORKS) is that it's only $4.99.

Enjoy, friends!


28 April 2012

self portrait saturdays.

This is my first week linking up with Dana over at The Wonder Forest; this week is also co-hosted by Rebecca at Manzanita and Ilene at Much Love, Illy!

So, here goes.  This was actually a lot of fun -- I loved playing with layers and textures to get an artsy effect on these self portraits, both snapped in my bathroom mirror (woo hoo!).  The first one definitely takes the cake as my favorite.  Es posible you'll start seeing it as my avatar here and there, perhaps...

I know that if this were some matching game for kids, this third image would be the one from among the three they'd select as the one that "doesn't belong" (artistically-speaking) but I'm just a sucker for self portraits of feet & shoes. And I just wanted an excuse to show off my new flats without compromising their beauty with some grungy Photoshop filter (despite willingness to do so to my own face, haha).




27 April 2012

getting settled in.

As many of you already know, I moved into a new home (with my boyfriend! Ack!) a couple of months ago.  We've had a chance to get settled in and spruce up the place.  There are still some components that need a bit of work, but I'm very happy with many elements of our new space and wanted to share them with you!  :)

office space: Anna Delores Photography headquarters, with my Epiphanie camera bag hogging the spotlight
Mini latte bowls, round mercury trinket box, and letter "E" on wall: Anthropologie | Yellow filing station: thrifted 
White Holga 35mm camera: Urban Outfitters | Desk lamp: Target | Red "Lola" camera bag: Epiphanie 
Gallery photography: Myan Soffia, Elle Moss, SSC Photography, You Anchor Me, Maximonstertje, & Slight Clutter
ACEO owl friend by Andrea Doss | T-Rex print by Yellow Heart Art
bedroom: my nightstand, photographed by request for You, Me & Charlie. That's my baby girl Pepper sunning herself.
Bone-shaped photo frame: Papyrus {similar} | Ceramic tile coaster: Anthropologie {similar} | Lamp: Target {similar} | Nightstand: Pier 1
bedroom: my dresser -- one of my favorite corners as it offers a nice little accessorizing station for me each morning.
Felt rosette flower stems: Cole Franke | Jewelry tree: Urban Outfitters {similar} | Earring display: The Container Store   
Teacup, mercury vase, script dish, and ceramic perfume vial {all no longer available}: Anthropologie | Vintage soda bottle crate: thrifted {similar}
bookcase detail: the decorating I did on our bookcase in the dining room yielded one of my favorite "visual" spots  :)
"No. 2" canister {no longer available) and "vintage" keys: Pottery Barn | Letter "A" and jewel-tone napkin: Anthropologie {both no longer available} 
Letter "n" {similar} and Olympia typewriter {similar}: thrifted

More bits of home to come!

26 April 2012

jeans should feel like sweatpants.

I love, love, love actress Claire Danes; I even interviewed her once in my past life as an entertainment columnist for my college newspaper (no joke! It was awesome; I was a big "My So-Called Life" fan!).

And now, more reasons to agree with the lovely Ms. Danes; she says she won’t wear a pair of jeans unless they’re as soft as sweats! “It’s funny with jeans now, because if they don’t feel like a pair of sweatpants, I don’t have patience for them any more!” she told ASOS Magazine. “I think I’m becoming increasingly lazy.”

YES!  I am SO on the same page here.  I think jeans are the easy stand-by for fashion laziness, which means I wear them a lot (pretty much any day I don't have the energy to get creative with my outfit).  But, especially as a curvier lady (a problem that Claire does NOT have), comfy jeans are essential.  Otherwise I have a muffin top situation and it just feels yucky; frankly, it's not great for my self-esteem.

Where am I going with this?  Jeans review.

Sweet N Low super stretch
My self-confidence AND comfort have been greatly improved with my personal discovery of Lucky Brand's relatively-new Super Stretch Denim Jeans.  I'm wearing 'em right now!

These are the Sweet N Low stretch jeans with a wee bit o' flare; the other pair I have are the Sweet N Straight which, as the name suggests, have a straight leg with pretty much zero flare.

I am telling you, I could take a nap in these babies (not that I do... usually...).  They are also super fabulous in the sense that unlike many other stretch jeans in my past, they don't stretch OUT -- they are stretchy in the sense that they contour to my body, but it's not the kind of stretch that makes clothes lose their shape, or sag around your shape.  These jeans hold it together quite nicely, which also means they get a bit more mileage before hitting the laundry pile.  Know what I mean?

Do you have a favorite pair, and do they feel like sweatpants?!  :)  Or, do you think that jeggings are a huge no-no and want your jeans nice and stiff?

In other news, LOOK at my new shoes!  I love you, Blowfish.

Blowfish Timo wedge sandals in "Brown Belize Blanket"


25 April 2012

handmade // some favorite goodies.

I've been on Etsy for a little over a year now, and the damage I've done is quite substantial!  I've managed to balance out the money I've spent with money I've made in my OWN shop, but seeing as my original intent was to make some cash and quit my day job someday, maybe that's not the best logic.  ;)

Anyway, I've collected some trinkets I really adore and wanted to share (click on the image to be taken to the corresponding shop on Etsy).

Left to right, top to bottom: Julie Ann Art, Roots & Feathers, Myan Soffia Photography, The Tea Rex, Skyline Fever, and Brooke Medlin.

So, so, SO much more to come...

word wednesday: Comparison is the thief of joy.

I first saw this quote a couple of days ago in my daily e-mail from You, Me & Charlie and then saw it pinned by fellow blogger Audrey; it rang so darn true for me today that I just had to give it a shout-out.

Simple.  True.  And I do a LOT of comparing myself to others, especially when it comes to blogging and business.  I think this is an excellent reminder to myself to enjoy what I have, when I have it, instead of comparing myself to other people in a way that is counter-productive or damaging to myself.

Does anyone else do this?


24 April 2012

WEAR: Anna Delores featured on Sandy A La Mode

The wonderful Sandy over at Sandy A La Mode featured Anna Delores Photography's Santa Monica Pier necklace as part of her outfit post {The Mullet Skirt, April 23}. 

Check out her lovely outfit!

Top: Forever 21 | Skirt: Urban Outfitters | Shoes: Michael Kors | Bracelet c/o Twillypop | Necklace c/o Anna Delores

23 April 2012

guest post from LEONORA of Yellow Heart Art!

yellow heart art
it's Leonora!
Quick intro from Emily: Leonora Jennifer of Yellow Heart Art is a super, ultra, mega cool chick.  All of the goodies in her Etsy shop, the design elements on her fabulous blog, and the awesome content galore entertain and enthrall me every day.  The post you're about to read, however, touched me quite significantly, as I can certainly relate.  I appreciated Leonora's honesty and encouragement, and I'm so grateful she agreed to let me share it with you here.


It's time to get real today.  How many times do you visit your favorite blog, someone who has a handmade shop, and you see *alllllllll* these places their stuff has been featured? Maybe it's a top-selling magazine; maybe it's an e-zine; maybe it was a spot in an official Etsy newsletter.

Now, these people SHOULD shout from the rooftops when their hard-working stuff has gotten any sort of publicity. It makes me feel good for my friends when I see that Heather has her hair pretties in Seventeen Magazine, or that my other friend (who shall remain nameless since she is keeping this on the down low, BUT I SO WANNA TELL YOU WHO IT IS) can potentially have a book deal showcasing 50 "how-to" tutorials.

These things are AMAZING. They give you hope that one day you will be where they are today and get your work featured in a ha-uge magazine!

Leonora's plushie camera featured on Huffington Post
Here is one thing you should remember though. Whenever I write on my Facebook wall or tweet that one of my plushes/prints was featured in the Huffington Post or at Rue Magazine or on Apartment Therapy, etc., this wasn't an instantaneous thing. All these things happened after I had my shop for about nine months to a year.

I had zero sales at one point (hey, we ALL had zero sales at one point, ha!) and before I started my handmade business, one of my goals in life was to get a T-shirt design of mine sold worldwide. (In case you are new here, I went to school for graphic design and have been working full time as a graphic designer for about 5+ years now.)

Yeah, I tend to set my goals super-high sometimes. Which also leads to a lot of disappointment.

So, the design process began. I entered a TON of T-shirt design competitions (Firefox had one when they were relaunching their site a few years back; Threadless.com always has a ton going on, Woot.com as well; I even submitted designs to places like dELiA*s and House of Mental).

I got a TON of rejection letters. I even saved them all so that one day WHEN (not if, but WHEN) a shirt of mine sold world wide I can be all like, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE I FREKKIN DID IT.

L's shirt design, currently for sale!
That day finally came. I had a T-shirt design being sold in two online shops. Crooked Monkey wholesales out their shirts to places like Urban Outfitters, dELiA*s, Macy's, etc. and they gave me a shot and used my design!  The shirt is retired now since this was about four years ago (and I was a lot younger so ignore the juvenile saying, plus that was the type of demographic they were going for), but you can check it out here!

I also have this design currently being sold, as well. I couldn't be more happy.

But, my point is, before ALL of those things even happened to me, I heard a TON of "no" before I heard my first ever "HELL YES!"

So when you see all these great things happening to your favorite bloggers and handmade shop owners, just remember that they, too, dealt with disappointment and rejection. I don't want you guys to think that since day one everyone has been diggin' my stuff. That isn't fair to you guys for me to portray myself like that.

Also? Sometimes failures happen for a reason. Did you guys have a Steve & Barry's by you at all? They were popular on Long Island and when I graduated from college I wanted to work for them so.frekkin.bad (corporate, NOT the actual shop, haha).  Their headquarters were located on Long Island and I wanted to work there as a graphic designer designing their marketing and T-shirts. I stalked the head of the art department for DAYS. He got back to me, said he LOVED my portfolio, but did not have the experience to work there.


I was upset at first, but nine months later Steve & Barry's went bankrupt and I would have been out a job.

Around the same time I had an opportunity to work for Sally Hansen corporate doing their marketing campaigns and designing their packages. Went on an interview and never heard from them. Got really upset by it and just let it go. Four months AFTER my interview they contacted me and said they wanted to hire me. Problem was I JUST landed another graphic design job and didn't feel comfortable leaving it just yet. Turns out, a year later, Sally Hansen moved their headquarters from Long Island to North Carolina and I would have been out a job again. (Sound familiar to my Steve & Barry story?)

"Awesome Amazing Things" print from Yellow Heart Art
Sometimes the lack of success is meant to be. (Hey, trust me over here!)

So, I vow with every success that comes my way I will also mention my failures, 'cause I'm only human and failure is always an option.

I ask that you, too, take that vow. It's so easy to get wrapped up in other people's blogs and think they live this amazing life, full of smooth sailings with no bumps. I can see how that can happen. We are so quick to tell the world about all our successes but hold back from sharing anything that shows we are human.

Also? The reason why I am even the least bit successful to begin with is because of all of you. Everyone who has ever purchased anything of mine or gave me advice on how to go the extra mile with my shop. Anyone who has ever re-tweeted one of my shop announcements or has blogged about my products. Anyone that wanted to follow along with me on my blog, Facebook, or Twitter account. Thank you to ALL of you, because let's be honest, without ANY of you I would be nothing.

Much love to Leonora for sharing!  Without getting into too much detail, I had similar experiences at the tail-end of and after college -- wanted to work for corporate offices in San Francisco and New York (with the likes of Steve Madden, Origins, Williams-Sonoma, Anthropologie).  Wound up with a position down the street (at the time) in Orange County, and even got a phone call from Anthropologie a week into the new job!

Career and creative successes and failures tend to happen for a reason.  Leonora has inspired me (and I hope you, too!) to be persistent, true to myself, and, well, more persistence.  ;)  Thanks L!

21 April 2012

WEAR: mini wear

A quickie homage to my favorite J.Crew necklace (and favorite necklace, period) and a new tee I'm happy to match it with.

top: OLD NAVY | necklace: J.CREW (4 years ago) | scarf: STREET VENDOR IN PARIS (booyah)

Awesome bangs styled by moi.  Still loving my new haircut!  :)

Also wearing, not pictured:
Lucky Brand Denim Sweet N Straight Jeans | Converse Jack Purcell CP in white


20 April 2012

gifting Lauren Conrad

This month, I was given what I think is a pretty cool opportunity to gift the lovely Lauren Conrad!  You may also know her as "LC" from MTV's "Laguna Beach" or "The Hills," but she's gone on to make a solid name for herself in the fashion world.  She's penned a couple of books, whipped up a clothing line, and directs her own blog over at The Beauty Department.

I did some investigative work on Lauren's website and read a few blog posts about her fondness for decorating with some vintage finds, particularly old cameras, so I went for the obvious choice and opted for the following Anna Delores images:

I mean, I already have these images in my repertoire, so it seems appropriate, no?  I added mats to the prints and included a couple business cards and a Huntington Beach bookmark to remind Ms. Conrad of home (the OC, of course!).

VoilĂ !  I'll turn into a big "woo!" girl if she checks out the shop!  I hope she likes.  What do you think?

Here's the rest of my Lauren prep:

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