Getting started – setting up my YouTube equipment

Obviously when starting out on a “Social Media Content Creator” path, technology plays a HUGE part in getting ready to do your thing. I’ve spent countless hours researching, watching videos, checking out reviews, comparing products, and seeing what my favorite YouTubers use in their setups. It is a daunting and confusing task as there are so many options out there and just as you think you’ve settled on the right product, you catch one negative review of it or see an even more tempting deal and suddenly you’ve started all over (sigh).

One of my main goals with my content is to help you shop by saving you the time and hassle of this process described above. While I have more beauty/home/style products in mind for my channel & blog, perhaps some of you could find use in seeing my behind-the-scenes technology setup. Whether you are wanting to become a content creator as well, or if you just might be looking to get some upgraded items to photo/video your adorable children and pets, here’s what I’ve found!

All of these items are currently en route to me so I want to tell you what I discovered through my research that made me lay down the credit card for these items and then I will do a follow up blog after a month or so of actually using them. That way we can find out together if they stand up to what I am expecting (fingers crossed).

After hunting around to learn about the basic setups being used by my most beloved YouTubers I came up with this basic list of necessary items I wanted to purchase: Camera that takes video and still pictures, ring light, softbox lights, an an external microphone. 

Since I am committing to hit the pavement hard and shoot for this being a full-time job for myself as opposed to a casual hobby, I knew I wanted to find items that were a little more serious and a little more high-end so that I can come right out the gate with great quality videos/photos.

One of the YouTubers I used to really get a better sense of the right camera for me is Think Media. He has a lot of videos discussing pros and cons of different types of camera setups specifically for YouTubers as well as very detailed videos comparing two or three makes/models of cameras.

I immediately honed in on Canon Cameras because of their Dual Pixel Autofocus System and face/eye tracking features so at least I had one brand that I was set on researching. After reading and watching a TON of info, I ended up selecting the Canon EOS M50. It is an interchangeable lens camera with infinite settings and adjustments to manually create the exact look you want, as well as automated default settings while you are a beginner. It is a lot lighter and more compact than some other models so it will be able to be used as a vlogging camera as well as being used on a tripod – a lot of YouTubers I watch use two separate cameras. It has a full flip-out rotating screen/monitor which is perfect for selfies and vlogging. It has wi-fi/bluetooth capabilities which also means you can control the settings directly from your phone. It records in full HD as well as even 4k (although not deemed perfect in this mode yet). I also wanted to make sure it was compatible with an external microphone, had a decent battery life as well as record time. I found a great bundle on Amazon that included the camera, the recommended 15-45mm kit lens, vlogging tripod, full standing tripod, a bunch of filters, and cleaning/protection accessories. Now the hard part was over, I could more quickly decide on my accessories.

Next was the ring light, a necessity for the videos I need to create – up close portrait style for beauty reviews/tutorials and just talking/teaching to the camera. I selected the 14″ model from Neewer on Amazon. I was interested in one with LED light source for bulb longevity that would also be fully dimmable to control the amount of light as well as having warm and white diffusers to control the color temperature. This comes with an adjustable angle stand and a hot shoe adapter where you can mount your camera or phone directly in the center of the ring. It also has a wireless remote that can control the settings from afar. 

I wanted some supplemental lighting that could be used for the more close-up videos but could also be positioned to light up room scenes when making home design/decor videos/photos. I went with this set of 2 Softbox Lights by LimoStudio on Amazon. They are nice and big – 24″ x 24″, come with stands and a carrying case, use daylight neutral toned compact fluorescent bulbs, and have white fabric diffusers to soften the light source.

Last stop was to grab an external microphone to ensure better sound quality. This mic from Takstar on Amazon was a very inexpensive option that can attach to my Canon camera easily and should greatly improve the clarity of sound on my videos without breaking the bank or being overly complex for what I need.

~ Takeaway ~ So there you have it, the four main camera/lighting equipment pieces I am starting off this journey with. After I put everything into action, I’ll revisit and review my own thoughts on how it is all working for me. I did choose to purchase everything from Amazon because they have amazing customer service/returns in case anything comes broken or missing or just isn’t what I expected. I also don’t have to wait very long for it to be delivered, so the fun will begin soon!

Handmade Seasonal Wreath

~ My DIY Spring/Summer Door Wreath ~

I love a good craft and I love some seasonal decor. Put it all together and what do you get? A fun seasonal wreath for your front door of course! Lol. I had seen so many awesome designs on Pinterest – black hole of DIY inspiration – and I knew this was one I could easily conquer myself. After a quick trip to Michaels and JoAnns – don’t forget your coupons! – I had all the supplies necessary to make this piece.

I simply bought a plain circular wreath made of branches – this one happens to be painted in a dark blue hue which I thought was an interesting alternative to your typical brown look. Then I picked out a variety of fake floral bushels all in white/cream/and green tones. Lastly, I hunted down a thick cardboard “hello” sign that I spray painted gold.

I dismantled all the floral components with wire cutters and laid them out along the edge of the wreath. Once happy with my starting layout, I used a glue gun to affix them to the wreath and filled in with additional foliage here and there until it was lush and full. I enjoyed the look of some of the sprigs of greenery extending off the borders of the circle – a little whimsy (wink). Fun fact – the “hello” sign is just nestled into the branches as opposed to being permanently glued so I can use it again when I swap it out for my Fall wreath – stay tuned for the reveal of this beauty once it finally becomes Autumn! 

I have a little clear zip tie that loops around some of the branches from the back so that it can hang from a 3M hook I stuck to our front door. This makes it easy to change up as you move through the seasons.

~ Takeaway ~ Making a wreath is one of the easiest and most foolproof crafts you can do to entertain yourself for a couple hours and have a usable end result for your home. Decorating your home for the corresponding season is one of my favorite ways to personalize and stylize your environment. It really helps you embrace the season and get excited about all of the unique aspects of that particular time of year. Is it Fall yet?!?!?!

J’adore Paris!

~ Our perfume souvenirs from Parle Moi De Parfum, Paris ~

Anytime I go on vacation, I’m on the hunt for an awesome, unique souvenir that I can remember my trip by. While I’d love to bring home some art or decor pieces for the house, things like jewelry are usually easier and more convenient to pack in a suitcase, so that’s typically what I end up purchasing. 

On our recent trip to Paris in July, we stayed in Le Marais District which was an endless supply of amazing shops and restaurants on every street. We literally could have just hung out in that neighborhood the entire trip and been happy as clams.

I’d spotted this cool looking Perfumerie as we were dragging our luggage from the parking garage down the street in search of our hotel and made a mental note to stop by once we’d settled in. Near the end of our trip we finally made it in on the way to a wine tasting event. We were helped by the sweetest young ladies working the store who patiently showcased all of the perfumes and told the story of the brand.

Here’s a snippet from their website: Parle Moi de Parfum is all about family. Benjamin Almairac grew up with stories about perfume that his father brought home from work. He dreamt of creating a venue right in the centre of Paris where the public could discover the finest fragrances that Michel Almairac had always dreamed of creating and staging.”

Michel Almairac is a world famous perfume designer who has formulated dozens of best-selling scents for big global brands such as Burberry, Gucci, Chloe, Joop!, and Escada. The man knows what smells good, that’s for sure!

After explaining that I am mostly drawn towards fresh, citrusy type scents as well as vanilla, I was shown a handful of selections they thought I’d enjoy most…problem being I actually loved them all! Normally with any line of scented products, I only am drawn to one or two and the rest are completely wrong for my taste. However, at Parle Moi de Parfum I felt like it was a collection of fragrances that were literally curated specifically for me! 

I narrowed it down to the Guimauve de Noel which is described as: “orange blossom and vanilla-scented sugar offer an instant of respite, of letting go, of tender and reassuring memories.” and the Flavia Vanilla which is described as: “a dark and sugary vanilla. Sweet, fascinating and totally seductive.” I decided to have her spray me down with the Guimauve de Noel so I could take it on a test drive while we hit up our wine tasting. It’s always important to see how your body’s chemistry interacts with a perfume before making the purchase!

After our amazing wine and cheese experience, I was sold with how the perfume was wearing so we made our way back to the shop and I signed up to buy the Guimauve de Noel. I think my husband started feeling a little jealous with my awesome purchase, so he decided to select his own fragrance to take home.

Many of their scents are unisex formulas including the Tomboy Neroli which is what he ended up selecting. It is described as: “a novel creation starring orange blossom. Neroli and amber notes give this fragrance a careless sophistication that boys and girls adopt with the same ease.” I was super happy he went with this one as I can steal it and wear it as well. We also brought home their Discovery Set which has little testers of all their current scents just so I can continue to enjoy all of their aromas. Let’s be straight, I’m most likely going to online order some additional creations to add to my collection!

~Takeaway~ When on vacation, always keep your eyes peeled for one-of-a-kind, hand-made, or specialized items that you couldn’t get at home. While a light-up key chain of the Eiffel Tower is fun, I’d much rather walk away with something a little luxe for my daily life that will instantly remind me of the vacation I so much enjoyed. Smell is one of our most powerful senses when it comes to recalling memories – every time I smell this perfume I am taken right back to our time in Paris and that is the best souvenir possible!

Labradorite Pendant

~ Gorgeous Labradorite Pendant by Love Harper Boutique ~

This summer, Cherry Creek Shopping Center opened up an exciting new concept called The District Shops. What was previously a two-story Bed Bath & Beyond has been renovated into a market-style shopping experience consisting of local Colorado small retailers and artisans each with their own little vignettes filled with their specialized merchandise. Here’s the description they list on their website: “From all the latest fashions to one-of-a kind-finds, you won’t be disappointed. Showcasing vintage, clothing, jewelry, home decor, bath and body, pottery, pre-packaged foods and so, so, so much more! The District Shops in Cherry Creek has it all!”

I stopped by during a day of shopping with one of my girlfriends and was definitely impressed with what they had to offer. If farmhouse style decor floats your boat, there were a lot of “Joanna Gaines” inspired vendors. A lot of hand-made jewelry designers which I’m always drawn to, along with women’s clothing shops, candles/body scrubs/lotion type stores, and a small handful of honeys/jams/hot sauce type sellers.

My favorite stop of the day was at Love Harper Boutique – a local Colorado jewelry designer. Here’s how she describes her style: “Love Harper is a glitter dipped boutique with a bohemian feminine vibe. My mission to for you to feel how I would imagine MOST woman would want to feel- not only comfortable but beautiful, strong but feminine, and confident like your alter ego 😉 ….all while NOT breaking the bank.” – LOVE THIS!

I picked up this gorgeous triangular labradorite pendant with a very unique gold chain for $29. If you are a believer in the transformative power of crystals/stones, (I personally know nothing about this but looked it up once the woman at the check-out stand was really excited over the fact this was labradorite), then you may be curious to know that it is said to be excellent for awakening one’s own awareness of inner spirit, intuition and psychic abilities… I just loved the look of this blue-green-grey stone and didn’t have anything like this in my collection! 

~ Takeaway ~ The District Shops is a pretty great place to pick up some special pieces, perfect for finding a gift for someone special, and a very cool way for small, local business to be seen and supported. Love Harper Boutique has some awesome jewelry designs – see her instagram to explore what she’s all about!

Seeing in Style

~ Nora in rose gold ~
~ Brady in matte tortoise ~

One of my favorite things is meeting function with style, because let’s face it, it can make some of the more boring and mundane requirements of life a lot more fun and exciting! I typically wear contacts most of the time, but there are definitely times when I just want to throw on a pair of glasses. It’s not just when I first wake up in the morning and want to watch some YouTube to warm up to the day or on those lazy Sundays when I want to be in pjs all day, but also when I want to change up my look and stylize my vibe with an accessory other than jewelry. 

Warby Parker just recently opened up a store at my local mall just as I had updated my prescription, so it was perfect timing to pick up a few new fun pairs. They specialize in vintage inspired, hipster approved styles. Fun fact – for every pair of glasses they sell, a pair is also distributed to someone in need. Love a good philanthropic brand!

I was immediately drawn to the Nora style in a flashy rose gold finish. These are highly reflective, feminine, and oh so pretty in pink. I love how the frames really pop with my dark hair. The perfect look for a girly-girl looking for a unique and unusual metallic finish.

To contrast with the Nora, I also picked up the Brady which is a much more masculine look. I love the bigger scaled frames with the more squared-off lines, but what truly drew me in was the matte tortoise finish. We’ve all seen plenty of shiny tortoise frames, I’ve owned many a pair of glasses and obviously sunglasses in that flavor, but I’ve just recently started spotting the matte option which I quickly became obsessed with. I think it really puts a modernized spin on the traditional tortoise look and truthfully, I just feel cool in these (wink).

~ Takeaway ~ Wearing glasses can be fun and exciting if you shop for a pair that can express your style and your vibe. It’s ok to own a variety of pairs so you can customize your daily look to be exactly what suits you in the moment. Never underestimate the power of an awesome pair of glasses to change up your appearance. Check out Warby Parker for a unique selection of trendy options at a great price and excellent service!

The “Essential Red” – budget friendly wine

~ A delicious and money-saving red wine ~

Don’t get me wrong – we love to break out our favorite, exclusive, and pricier wines for our guests. However, there are simply some occasions when you are providing a larger amount of alcohol for a giant party or nights when your husband is out of town and you just can’t bring yourself to pop open a $65 bottle of your go-to wine. I’m always on the lookout for an inexpensive yet delicious bottle of wine for precisely these moments.

This summer we went to the Breckenridge Food and Wine Festival for the second year in a row. It has quickly become a must-do activity for our family every summer and since it is always near my mom’s birthday, the VIP tickets make for a great gift. Set in the gorgeous mountain backdrop, you can walk around all day tasting wines both local to Colorado and from across the country. 

A new wine (to us) that we discovered was the Bogle Essential Red from California. While I immediately pinned their wines as a “favorite of the day”, we wanted to go back and re-taste at home without any misguided or dulled taste buds from the day’s extensive tastings (wink)

We actually found the bottle at our local Costco for under $10 and picked up a few for an upcoming party we were hosting. Turned out the hot weather that day called for more Sangria drinking than anything and we ended up with two bottles of the Bogle that went opened but un-drank. 

Over the following two days I vowed to try the Bogle Essential Red before it went bad since we had already opened them, and to my excitement, it was absolutely delicious. I was stunned that the opened bottles held so well and the wine was as pleasing as I had remembered it in Breckenridge.

Here’s a description I pulled from Bogle’s website: “This compelling blend of Old Vine Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah had created a ripe and mouthfilling wine. Full bodied from start to finish, this wine has notes of sarsaparilla, dark berries and black plums. Richly textured and nuanced by the flavors of juniper and dried herbs, the wine is juicy, jammy, luscious and finishes with graham cracker and melty s’mores from the American oak aging for 12 long months.”

For a wine with a blend of such heavy grapes, I thought it was super smooth and silky. Definitely a wine that is well paired with foods, but can be enjoyed on its own once your palette has acclimatized. I’ll be bringing this to all of my upcoming book club meetings for sure! What’s your favorite well-priced red wines?

Citrus – Can’t beat it

~ When in doubt, citrus it out ~

I believe it is absolutely essential to have a delicious smelling home whether it is just you on your couch watching Netflix, or whether you are hosting a party of 30. Spaces not only need to look good, but they need to smell good too. If we can appeal to all of our senses instead of only our eyes, we have wrapped ourselves up in a much more pleasant and inviting environment.

Now, if you have pets like I do, you love them to death but unfortunately they are a bit of a mess when it comes to their fur and their smells and thus, they cause me the most stress when prepping my home for company. The absolute worst thing is walking into someones house and thinking “what the hell is that stink??”

The best way I’ve found to immediately fill your home with an appealing aroma on quick notice is Oil Warmers. They are typically ceramic or metal decor pieces that house a tealight in the bottom and a well for scented oil on top. The heat from the tealight causes the oil to release its fragrance and voilà, your room went from smelling like cat litter or whatever your unpleasant odor to refreshing lemons in about 3 minutes.

Of course companies like Yankee Candle provide seasonal scents to tailor your home fragrance to the time of year and you can pick up oils that suit your own preferences. However, if you are worried about finding an all-year-round, crowd pleasing flavor – Citrus is where it’s at!! Lemon, lime, orange and other light citrus scents are the most appealing across the board. The simple, clean, refreshing scent will not turn your guests off, but will welcome into a fresh, inviting space.

My three go-to scents for satisfying all tastes during anytime of the year are: Sage & Citrus, Sicilian Lemon, and Honey Clementine – all from Yankee Candle Company. You can pick them up for $5 a piece which is far less than the price of a super-scented candle and I’m telling you, they do the job! What are your favorite types of scents??

What’s your sign?

~ Scorpio all the way (wink) ~

This past weekend our local city council woman held our second annual South x Southeast community festival. After a rainy start, we headed over to the park to enjoy some local bands, beer, and activities. The day ended up being perfect after the skies cleared and I was lucky enough to wander upon an awesome local jewelry designer in one of the featured pop-up stores.

{afd} is owned by Denver local jewelry designer, Anne Franklin. Here’s a little bio I pulled from her Etsy profile: “Anne Franklin was able to embrace her inner crafter in early 2010. Her determination, hope and passion for life and creating unique handmade gifts have made {anne franklin designs} an up and coming creative force in the thriving Denver handmade arena.”

I was thrilled to find the most elegantly simplistic Scorpio Zodiac Necklace and two pairs of earrings – a streamlined post design and a fun bubble look all for $50.

I’m pretty much a Scorpio to the T – independent, determined, passionate, etc. – so I love finding little items that represent my sign. It’s the perfect understated way of representing a little snippet of your personality in your style (providing you feel a tie to the characteristics of your assigned zodiac). A curious and careful eye can spot your symbol and perhaps find an instant connection to you and your passion for the subject. {afd} has a charm for each of the Zociacs – What’s yours????

Check out the {afd} etsy store!

Hello and Welcome!

~ I’m Laura, nice to meet you ~

Hello everybody, Laura here with Lifestyled You where we talk everything beauty, home, style, and life. I’m so excited to be sharing my tips and tricks on how to stylize yourself and your life with the intention of helping you celebrate the life you’ve always wanted. Head on over to the About Lifestyled You page to see what we are all about and to hear my full story!

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