Reading Lately: “#GIRLBOSS”

Today I’m linking up with Michelle from Blogs Like A Girl, Cat from KittyKittyLaLa and Allison from Puppies and Pretties to share what I’ve been reading over the past month. I’m really excited that they put this link-up together as it’s giving me motivation to finally burn through my reading list. In January, I started with #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso.

#GIRLBOSS is half-motivating/half-memoir by Sophia Amoruso, the founder and CEO of NastyGal //


If you’re looking for a book that will make you feel empowered, motivated and lazy all at the same time, look no further.

Sophia Amoruso is the founder and CEO of Nasty Gal, an online clothing shop– or empire, as it’s referred to numerous times in the book. As a 20-something female, I’ve frequented quite a few times, but have clicked off pretty quickly due to my lack of motivation to spend money on clothing.

#GIRLBOSS is half autobiography of her success from starting Nasty Gal on accident, and using her mistakes and successes to give advice.  The whole thing is written as if Sophia is taking to you over coffee, half humble-bragging and also looking down at you like a stern mother as she talks to you.  Very do as I say, not as I do. She preaches to follow your own path, and to forget all the stereotypes that may be standing in your way to achieve what you want to achieve.  Her own story backs up her words, as she tells you about how she accidentally created a million dollar clothing company.

Her book is a great rags-to-riches story to motivate you to follow your dream and take control of your life in the way that works for you. It’s an entertaining read, as some of her stories are outrageous.  The book is written to inspire and motivate young GIRLBOSSes to follow their dreams and take control of their lives, but looking back on the book a few weeks later, the only real things I remember is how awesome she kept saying her company was.

Overall, I think I’m lukewarm about it. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but I usually put it down feeling motivated. If you’re on the fence about reading it, I would suggest going for it.

Unfortunately that’s all I’ve been able to get through during January. I’ve got a few other titles on my list for February, but if you’re reading something awesome, please let me know! I’d love recommendations!



GUEST POST: LORAC Mega PRO 2 Palette Tutorial

Today, we’re going to try something new and I’m hella excited about it! Today we’re going to talk about the LORAC Mega PRO 2 palette with a very special guest!

Meet Kimberly from BlogsForDays! Today she’ll be showing us a tutorial with the beautiful LORAC Mega PRO 2 palette! If anyone remembers, I lusted hard after this baby a few months ago, but didn’t get it.  As soon as I found out Kimberly had it, I had to have her on the blog showing it off.

Without further ado, I’ll throw it to Kimberly!

Guest Post: Lorac Mega PRO 2 Palette Eye Make-Up Look

Hello Candidly Kelsey readers! With the invitation of the awesome owner of this blog, I am coming to you with a guest beauty post. My name is Kimberly! I’m so excited to be sharing this with you all because it is… a eyeshadow look tutorial! This is my first ever official makeup tutorial as a matter of fact… no, really! I’ve never posted a makeup tutorial on my blog or anywhere else. I’ve tried filming one before but it was a sad, sad, saaad excuse for a tutorial.

Guest Post: Lorac Mega PRO 2 Palette Eye Make-Up Look | Candidly KelseyGuest Post: Lorac Mega PRO 2 Palette Eye Make-Up Look | Candidly Kelsey

Anyways, I’m super happy to bring you all this gold coppery smoky eye look using the LORAC Mega Pro 2 palette. I just recently got this palette and I don’t think I even did a swatching or review post on my blog as there are just sooo many shadows in this gorgeous set-up. This is going to take you step by step through how I got this look (with pictures!). Now I’m going to apologize in advance as I have terribly small eyes and that makes this not the best to watch because it looks so much better on the YouTube beauty gurus of the world.

Guest Post: Lorac Mega PRO 2 Palette Eye Make-Up Look | Candidly Kelsey

Above are photos of the completed look! Even though this is purely an eyeshadow tutorial, I went ahead and showed you all what I chose for a lip color to go with it. You can obviously go less drastic with a nude color or pretty much any color you feel like you can rock with it!

Step One

I first took my Too Faced Shadow Insurance eyeshadow primer and applied that all over the lid and little under the eyes. After I will be taking Sugar and applying that all over the lid with a big fluffy brush to set the primer and give the rest of the shadows a good base to sit on top of. After that I took Porcelain and applied it to the brow bone with a flat concealer brush. Once that’s completed, I took Saddle and applied it in the crease, really blending it out with that same fluffy brush from before.

Guest Post: Lorac Mega PRO 2 Palette Eye Make-Up Look | Candidly Kelsey

Guest Post: Lorac Mega PRO 2 Palette Eye Make-Up Look | Candidly Kelsey

Guest Post: Lorac Mega PRO 2 Palette Eye Make-Up Look | Candidly Kelsey


Guest Post: Lorac Mega PRO 2 Palette Eye Make-Up Look | Candidly Kelsey

Step Two

Guest Post: Lorac Mega PRO 2 Palette Eye Make-Up Look | Candidly Kelsey
For this step, I took Black with the big fluffy brush from before and focused it mainly on the outer corner and slightly into the crease to give the look some more dimension and not be so natural looking.

Guest Post: Lorac Mega PRO 2 Palette Eye Make-Up Look | Candidly Kelsey

Step Three

Guest Post: Lorac Mega PRO 2 Palette Eye Make-Up Look | Candidly Kelsey

The next step was where the real colors came into place. First I took my NYX Jumbo Eyeshadow Pencil in Milk and applied it all over the lid just below the crease. I blended this out with my finger and then a bit with the concealer brush from before. After that I took my L’Oreal Infalliable Setting Spray to wet that concealer brush and applied Penny with the damp brush to really get the color to come through.

Guest Post: Lorac Mega PRO 2 Palette Eye Make-Up Look | Candidly Kelsey

Step Four

Guest Post: Lorac Mega PRO 2 Palette Eye Make-Up Look | Candidly Kelsey

After I applied the Penny shade over the lid under the crease, I applied Gold Leaf on the very center of the lid to just make it pop a bit and get it more dimension with the concealer brush. I think these colors too great together. After that I just blended the shades so they didn’t cut off with harsh lines with the fluffy brush.

Guest Post: Lorac Mega PRO 2 Palette Eye Make-Up Look | Candidly Kelsey

Step Five

Next, I put Prosecco in the inner corner and a little bit into the inner corner, then I took Black with a smaller, straight brush and connected it to the rest of the shadows in the outer corner. I blended all of this with a small pencil brush. Then, I put NYX’s Jumbo Eyeshadow Pencil in Milk on my waterline. Lastly, I applied Revlon’s Super Length mascara in the black shade (I don’t know if that’s the exact name or not).

Guest Post: Lorac Mega PRO 2 Palette Eye Make-Up Look | Candidly Kelsey

Lastly, if you want to add a dramatic lip with this like I did, then I applied NYX’s Velvet Suede cream lipstick in Vintage. And that completes this look!

Guest Post: LORAC Mega PRO 2 Eyeshadow TutorialGuest Post: Lorac Mega PRO 2 Palette Eye Make-Up Look | Candidly Kelsey

I really hoped you all enjoyed this little tutorial! I know it’s simple and not exactly hard but I enjoyed doing it for you all. I also love the LORAC Mega Pro 2, and am excited to try new looks with it. If you’re interested in more from me, you can visit me at! Thank you for reading! ?


You can check out Kimberly at, on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Bloglovin’. And don’t forget to check out her blog, as you may recognize a very beautiful, charming, and fun face over there today. Hint: it’s me.



How I Edit My Blog Pictures

Also known as “Kelsey’s Rachet Media School”

Welcome. My name is Kelsey, and I am your Professor.  Sit back, relax, and sip your coffee while I show you how to my favorite picture editing apps and how to use them to edit your pictures like a total pro. Or something.

How To Edit Blog Pictures Online For Free | Candidly Kelsey

1. I take pictures with my trusty iPhone 5s.  The camera is only so-so, and my photography skills are even less than. So make sure you have plenty of natural light, and also make sure to take at least 15,000 pictures at different angles.  At least one of them has to be in focus, right?

2. Then import picture into the editing apps I keep on my phone.  Depending on the picture I will do the following:

ALWAYS: Edit it in my favorite picture editing app called Afterlight. Here I will crop slightly, rotate it, adjust the brightness, exposure, shadow, highlight, or temperature, depending on what is needed. I always boost the contrast to make the colors pop.

THEN, if the picture has a lot of white space, I will then import the newly edited image into another picture editing app called Snapseed. Using the “Selective” tool you can adjust the brightness in individual areas by swiping left or right across the screen. Just click and place the little circle on the area you want to edit. You can also adjust the size area that you are editing by pinching the screen and zooming in or out. This can help make white backgrounds brighter, and be super useful if your lighting is uneven or heavily shadowed.

How to Edit Blog Pictures For Free | Candidly Kelsey

3. Then, I email the picture to myself from my phone so I can import it to my computer.

4. After downloading the image onto my computer, I then open the image on

Here is where I do final resizing and cropping to fit my blog format, tweak brightness, exposure, highlights, and contrast a bit more as needed.

If it is a relatively simple image, like shown below, I add the writing using the text option.  I always make sure I am using the same fonts, and same colors that go with my blog theme.  When finished, I save the image to my computer and then I’m done!

How To Edit Blog Pictures Online For Free | Candidly Kelsey

5.  However, if it’s a more complicated image, like a chart, or something I want a more detailed design on it, I will then open the image in

Canva has a ton of free options to create more complicated designs on images.  For example, I used the tools on Canva to help create blank blank blank, as shown below.

What’s especially great about Canva is that it has a ton of templates already created for free.  If you ever get stuck and need an idea, it’s really easy to grab one of their pre-made images and adjust it to your brand.

Once I create an image that I am happy with, I name it and download it as a PNG file.  And voila, you have an image for your blog post.

How To Edit Blog Pictures Online For Free | Candidly Kelsey

See, now wasn’t that easy? Only 3-5 different picture editing apps, and two different electronic devices, and you got yourself a snappy image.  Only a little complicated, but all totally free online photo editing  — which is my favorite part.

Anyone else use these apps, or would be interested in a tutorial on any of them? Let me know! I not only use them for my blog, but also to create the marketing material for my day-job, so it really can be used to make great images if you take your time.  It would really pay off to become comfortable with these websites and all they can do.

Happy editing!


Favorite Winter Red Polish

I don’t know about you, but the after-Christmas slump of winter is hard for me.  There is virtually nothing to look forward to for months.  Nothing to feel festive about, other than hoping your toes don’t develop frostbite as you walk home.

So it’s no surprise I went back to a dark red nail polish mood. I’m pretty sick of my last bright orange red I wore during fall, and wanted something warm and cozy but also super low key. Winter is a time that I am constantly trying to slap lotion on my entire body.  And ain’t nobody got time to wait for their nails to dry when it comes to trying to combat alligator skin.

Favorite Winter Red Nail Polish: Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure | Candidly Kelsey
Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure line is one of my favorites.  The fat brush gives a super easy application, and the formulas are always great.  They last forever with only minor chipping.  Perfect for winter when you’re shoving your hands in and out of gloves and pockets all day.
I discovered this shade “Maasai Red” at my mom’s house– and after this post goes live, she’ll realize that I promptly stole it from her after Christmas*– and I’ve been obsessed ever since.  It stays on forever, only takes two coats to get a good opaque color, and is the perfect deep red that screams winter to me.
I’ve already reapplied three different times since Christmas, and can’t imagine I’ll get sick of this one for awhile.  Add a coat of Essie Gel Setter Top Coat (which I’m having a loving relationship with at the moment) on top, like pictured, and I feel almost like I’ve got a salon manicure.

Not that you can see it, anyway. My hands are in gloves.Got a favorite winter nail polish? Something other than red? Let me know in the comments.

*Sorry Mom, I did not mean to steal it.  Accidentally left it in my purse after taking it with me to Aunt Connie’s. Total accident, I swear. Total happy accident.


Blog Goals for 2016

2016 Blog Goals
Alright, I’ll give.  I have hopes and dreams, and I’m not afraid to talk about it.  Here are my blogging goals for 2016:

Reach 100,000 views.  I want this for no other reason than I think it would be cool, and to feed my ego. Not sorry.

Start working a week ahead, and follow an editorial calendar.  I have struggled with posting on a schedule, and have missed at least one post per week for the past few weeks due to poor planning.  I’d like to continue posting at least 3 times per week, but want to work up to being at least a week ahead on blog posts so that if time does get the best of me– as it usually does– it won’t ruin things.  And having an editorial calendar will be far more organized than my current system of having 500 half-finished posts saved as “drafts”.

Do make-up tutorial posts or make-up look videos. A lot of my friends ask me for make-up advice now and I really do love talking about it, so I think it’d be really fun! And some things are so much easier to explain on video than in writing.

Start a newsletter. I’m late to the blogging game on this one, but I thought it’d be useless to start a newsletter if I can’t post consistently enough to use the newsletter  I mean, I could fill the blank space with knock-knock jokes, but that might get old pretty quick. Or not.  Maybe I should try it?

Do more personal posts.  I loooove reading personal posts on other blogs, so why not do more of my own on here? If I like reading them, I’m sure there are others who would like reading them too.  Plus I love to over share my life anyway. See my Twitter and Snapchat (@iamkelskels) if you don’t believe me.  I’m thinking 1-2 more personal posts per month would be a good start.

Register with a blogging network so I can go to in-person events.  That’s the beauty of living in a major city now: there are tons of things like this around Chicago. I need more real friends who blog too so I can stop calling and talking to my mom about things she doesn’t understand.  If you’re a Chicago blogger and want to be my friend, let me know! Let’s go get lattes and then Instagram them!

Become fluent in Google Analytics.  This is something I have been wanting to do since I started this damn thing, but still have yet to invest time in.  I don’t understand how to read Google Analytics, and I need to.  If anyone has tutorials, please let me know! I’d like to be able to start tracking my growth using more than just my social media stats and Blogger page view count.

Professionalize my blog.  I’d like to get some real pictures taken of me (not iPhone selfies) that I can use for branding, as well as have an expert take a look at my theme and simplify it all.  I’m sure my DIY attempts to do my own theme for free up has made my site run slower than it should, so I’d like to see if having it professionally done could make things run faster.  Because we need that instant gratification, ya know?

And that’s all.  Goodbye 2015, you’ve been good to me, but I have big dreams for 2016.  Think good thoughts for me and my work ethic!

Have any blog goals? Leave them in the comments, or leave a link to your 2016 Blog Goal post too! I’d love to read them.