Jul 27, 2015

canvas painting

Painting is my favorite way of relieving stress. You don't have to be artistic or creative to paint. Painting is an interesting form of art, because even just splotches of paint can become an incredible, unique piece. Here is #roomspiration numero tres, which I definitely had the most fun with: canvas painting. A painted canvas is a gorgeous addition to any room, whether it be sitting on top of your bedside table or hanging on the bathroom wall. I'm going to teach you guys how to create a beautiful painting in just five steps.

What you'll need:

acrylic paint

And surprise, surprise: I prepared a video! It's a very short timelapse of me working on the painting, which I thought would be a great help for this post. After you watch the video, you can scroll down to see my written instructions.

- step one -
As you can see in the first photo, you're going to start off with the background. Choose the basic color that you want to build off of; I chose green. Beginning from the right, create a gradient of dark to light (the light represents a source of brightness, such as the sun or a lamp). For my gradient, I used black, dark green, turquoise, lime green, yellow, and white paint respectively. Using a large brush with a relaxed hand, paint big strokes across the canvas. Add a curve to your brush's path to make the scene look just a bit more realistic, as if the background is circling around the source of light. Picture a star: the light it radiates is in the shape of a circle!

Important tip: keep your brush wet—not too wet to the point where water drips from the bristles, but wet enough so that your brush glides smoothly across the canvas.

- step two -
Take a medium sized brush, and paint a black strip across the bottom of the canvas. If you have a fan-shaped brush in handy, have the bristles face the north end of the canvas and add small strokes all along the strip to imitate grass.

- step three -
With a smaller brush, paint a tree trunk about two thirds of the way across the canvas. Make it roughly an inch thick—and, it doesn't have to be a perfect line. In fact, be sure that it isn't perfectly straight; tree trunks are bumpy! Now, switch to your thinnest brush and start drawing your branches. I made five big branches, then painted tinier stems growing from these five. To be honest, you can make them as ugly as you want because they're going to be covered in leaves very soon!

- step four -
Wait a couple minutes for your branches to dry. Then, choose a color for your leaves. I decided on a light shade of pink to reminisce the beautiful cherry blossom trees of Japan. This is the easiest part of the project: with your new color, dab little dots all over the branches! Dab as many as you can to create the illusion of a fuller tree. After these dots dry, take your white paint and add white dots on the left half of the tree. It'll look as if your source of light is reflecting off of the leaves. Gradually add less and less white dots as you move slowly towards the right half, until you have absolutely no white dots at the right end. Don't forget to avoid the very bottom as well, because the top leaves are going to prevent the light from reaching the leaves under them.

- step five -
This is optional, but I decided to add the silhouettes of a little boy and girl holding hands under the tree. I started off with two circles, then worked my way into drawing simple bodies and hairstyles.

You're done! Wait for your work to dry, and don't forget to add your signature and the date. This is both a great piece to display and a spectacular gift for a loved one. This painting was inspired by gagnonstudio. If you wish to learn more painting techniques, I encourage you to check out Tim's Youtube channel.

Thanks for visiting and reading this lengthy post! Are you a painter? What do you think about relieving stress through painting? If this isn't your forte, how do you like to get rid of stress?

See ya laters,


Jul 23, 2015

corkboard world map

Presenting, #roomspiration number two! I'm loving this series, and I'm really loving this project: the corkboard world map. While cleaning out my room, I found some old corkboard pieces and thought, what can I make out of these? I've been wanting a world map up on my bedroom wall for a while now. So, I decided, let's make an interactive one!

(if you noticed that one flag that lost its stickiness... you da real one)

What you'll need:

world map outline
pen & Sharpie
Post-it notes
poster strips (or whatever you want to use to attach your corkboard to the wall)

To save some time, you can download these outlines I printed and cut out! I left out Antarctica because I figured that I'm probably never going to find the chance to visit there... of course, you can always add it in!

Once you cut out your outlines, trace them onto the corkboard.

Fill in the new outlines with a fat Sharpie. You can also paint them in with acrylic paint if you'd like! However, if you use paint, there's the possibility that your flags won't stick into the corkboard properly.

Check out deformed Alaska... which shows, that this does not have to be perfect! No one's going to notice that you made a rounded end a little too sharp.

Optional, but why not? I wrote, "Where in the world have I been?" at the bottom of the corkboard.

Now, it's time to make your flag markings. Cut out long, isosceles triangles from your Post-it notes. Then, cut your toothpicks in half. Write the locations on the flags, then tape your mini flags to their respective "poles".

Add a compass! It's all about being creative. You can glue a flag onto the corkboard for a point of reference, too.

Time to finish up this project: apply a poster strip to each corner of the corkboard, then press it onto your desired spot on the wall.

Super easy and an awesome addition to your room! The process itself isn't difficult, but tracing and coloring in the map can be time consuming. If you don't have any corkboard available, think outside of the box: you can use plain paper with stickers or thumbtacks!

Like my previous project, my #roomspiration ideas are absolutely great for dorms as well! I'm moving away for college soon, so I've been researching dorm decoration ideas like a madman. I've got more things for your bedrooms and dorms coming up so keep your eyes peeled! Summer is whizzing by so fast.


Jul 20, 2015

clean and casual

You're getting ready for a girls' night out. How do you dress up, but also dress down? It all comes down to the details: the fabric. The pattern. The style. My favorite outfit is the clean and casual; something that looks as if I really tried, but is actually very easy, comfortable, and everyday. I have fun with fashion, so I put in the time every morning to care about what I'm wearing. Fact: Never have I worn sweatpants to school! Looking put-together is my number one priority, but comfort is also extremely important. Today, I'm going to take two pieces—blue denim and black—and provide two outfit ideas that are both clean and casual.

light blue boyfriend chambray  /  forever 21
black high-waisted skinny jeans  /  forever 21
white platform sandals  /  Myeongdong, South Korea
rose gold geometric necklace  /  forever 21
white strap rose gold watch  /  forever 21

Okay I lied, the top for my first outfit isn't actual denim (... but close enough). I love boyfriend style anything, because that's where the comfort factor comes in! Boyfriend shirts, boyfriend jeans... big, baggy, and safe. But yet, at the same time, as this is a button up, you get that sense of a clean appearance. What's great is that it isn't too proper such as a plain white button up, because with that you might look more professional (of course, it depends on the style of the shirt).

Oh, and I love to half tuck. I like how it represents exactly what I'm going for: sophisticated, yet laid back! Last but not least, I paired my clothes with some white platform sandals. Honestly, white shoes can vamp up anything.

black turtleneck bodycon mini dress  /  forever 21
bleached denim jacket  /  forever 21
black platform booties  /  forever 21
crystal pendant necklace  /  forever 21

What can I say, I love Forever 21...
Tip: to maintain the clean look, stay simple. This means no patterns, no crazy textures, etc. That's why I love this plain black dress! It's like a 100% cotton T-shirt dress, except with a dressier top portion. Keep your jewelry minimal as well. And finally, these shoes: My. Favorite. Good ol' chunky platform booties. They are so comfortable because the front platforms pretty much eliminate the angled positions of my feet. They look like casual boots, but they also look like formal footwear!

Let me know your thoughts! As always, everything was entirely my opinion.
Would you try these blue denim + black outfits?

Up there is my cactus who has survived for two years on my windowsill and is still going strong. That, is a miracle my friends.


Jul 16, 2015

how i edit photos

Hi friends, I've prepared a hefty post for y'all today: my guide to editing photos. This is also my first requested post, which feels pretty awesome! In my opinion, photos are the most significant aspect of blogs. Well, in my world... photos are everything! Ever since I was a tiny elementary school kiddo, I was fascinated by cameras of all sorts—disposable, polaroid, digital, you name it. I think I bought a DSLR before getting my first cell phone! I learned how to use Photoshop before I learned algebra or how to ice skate (okay actually I still suck at ice skating). Beautiful photos can attract a dedicated audience. Photos are memories.

What I'm trying to say is: I take my time with photos, especially photos for my blog. I don't just snap and upload. Down below, I'm going to reveal my personal "secret recipe" to photo editing. Before I begin though, remember that you don't have to edit photos like this at all! Heck, you don't even need to edit photos to start with. This is simply something I'm passionate about that I've decided to share ~

Isn't it crazy how we're able to do absolutely everything on our mobile phones now? I still use Photoshop on my laptop for heavy duty detailed editing. However, when I'm editing photos for my blog or Instagram on a daily basis, I use two applications—Afterlight ($0.99) and VSCO Cam (free). I know I know, even I'm really reluctant about purchasing items from the App Store. But trust me; Afterlight is so. Worth it. Seriously. It includes not only all of the best basic necessities (contrast, saturation, cropping, mirroring, etc.), but also dozens of light leaks, filters, and frames. Most importantly, it keeps the quality of your photos clear and perfect.


Alrighty, I'm going to start off with this photo from prom. It's a pretty colorful picture, with shades of green and red. One note before I really head into this: you don't have to follow every step, because each photo is different! Explore these apps and do you.

- 1 -
Open Afterlight. Straighten your image, using any straight lines in the picture as guidelines (in this case, I used the brick wall as my focal point).
Clarify your photo. This makes the subject clearer, defining the difference between subject and background. I usually don't go farther than 10, because the more I go the more artificial the lighting looks (think really heavy contrast).

- 3 -
Increase the saturation of your photo. I've found that filters tend to discolor photos; of course, it depends on the filter.
- 4 -
Open VSCO Cam. Increase the exposure by 2. If you add a filter to a photo that has too many shadows, the filter ends up darkening those shadows. It's important that the subject is accentuated, but you don't want it to stand out too much either.

- 5 -
Time for the filter! My all-time favorite VSCO Cam filter is HB2 of the HYPEBEAST X VSCO Collection. It's free! I usually lower the level to 8.
- 6 -
Finally, I personally like my photos faded. My limit is 3 levels up; if it's higher than 3, I find that my photos look too dull.

That's it! The process might sound a bit complicating, but the final product is definitely worth it (in my eyes). The following two examples also use the HB2 filter and went through the same editing process I just mentioned.

I think HB2 works great with photos that have people in it. These pictures are from my friend's debut party! The first is from the photobooth, and the second was taken by Beccs Lee.


Next up is this photo of the beach I captured at Santa Monica. This method is going to give your photo an instant, polaroid-esque look.

- 1 -
Straighten, clarify, and saturate again. Now, open VSCO Cam. Apply the filter P5 (one of the original filters you get when you first download the app) at a level of 10.

- 2 -
Open Afterlight. Click the film roll, then go to Dusty. Choose 02. This adds an old effect to your image.
- 3 -
Go to Light Leak. Choose 29. You can adjust the opaqueness as you wish.

Tada! Doesn't this photo look like it was taken with a real film camera? I'm pretty content with it! Below, I have two examples of more pictures with blue tones. I applied different filters to each, depending on the circumstance.

I used VSCO Cam's Q3 of the Alchemy Collection (one of my favorites) to bring out the blues of this very dull original photo. It was a gloomy, cloudy day—so adding some more cool blue color doesn't hurt right?

This photo uses VSCO Cam's KK1, which is a filter I think works magic on images with warm tones. Greetings from the Grand Canyon!


Let's move on to my final group of photos: the greens. I like nature and going out, so I've got a lot of green photos in my library. In the photo above, I used VSCO Cam's A5 of the Aesthetic Series (also free). 1970's vibes?

Here's a really, really green photo I captured in a cenote.

- 1 -
Open Afterlight. Increase the saturation to bring out the color just a tad bit more.
- 2 -
Open VSCO Cam. Apply the Q7 filter (my favorite for greens).

- 3 -
Make the temperature a level warmer. This will add yellower highlights, as the photo has too many cool tones.
- 4 -
Sometimes, your photo is going to be too bright! Lower the exposure by 1.

Complete. Not bad, eh?

That's the end of my photo editing tutorial. Whew, my fingers are going numb. Altogether, it's all about enhancing a photo; enhancing its colors, its lighting, its assets. If you ever try my methods, let me know! I would love to see your results ~

Update: If you're into the "Instagram feed theme" thing going around these days, I'd say that my theme is plain colorful. Rather than sticking to one color or style, I like to mix my photos up because that's what life is really like, ya know? Feel free to follow me @chaereenpak on Instagram (shameless plug)!


Jul 10, 2015

summer morning routine

I've realized... that people love stories. We enjoy learning about others' lives and listening to their accounts. We like to see the world through others' eyes and be inspired by those new perspectives. This realization has led me to also realize... why the internet loves morning routines! Today's post is probably my favorite to date just because it was so fun to capture. Sit back, and welcome: this is what typically happens in my life before the clock strikes 12 pm every day of summer break.

Waking up is indeed the most difficult part of the day. I hate my alarm ringtone, but I don't change it because it's exactly why I'm able to get up.

I like to eat before brushing my teeth. I usually stick to a light breakfast, and I try my best to never skip this meal. Of course, there's the occasional day when I wake up at lunchtime... oops.


I won't go into detail about the products I use when washing up, simply because I feel "whatever" about them. I don't have a particular face wash that has done wonders for me, but I do adore this face lotion and lip balm. My skin tends to be on the drier side, so I use these two products religiously.

Time for a quick workout! One of my goals for this summer is to get fit. After sitting and studying for hours on end during the school year, I'm sure my body is in dire need of good exercise. I love Blogilates, and I also like to take a run around the neighborhood when the weather is nice.

- 1 -
Low key guilty pleasure: korean dramas. Some of them can be absolutely ridiculous, but they're so addicting! If I'm not watching an episode, I'm probably drilling my eyes through a film that's on my infinitely long "Movies to Watch" list.
- 2 -
Water, water, and more water. I'm trying to get myself to drink as much water as possible.
- 3 -
Face masks! I can't tell if these actually make a difference, but I love the refreshing sensation of sticking these gooey masks on my face.

black crop top  /  Wet Seal
printed pants  /  Wet Seal
crystal necklace  /  Icing
bracelet  /  handmade gift
rings  /  Forever 21
wedges  /  Marshalls

On days when I go out, I like to dress before putting on makeup or doing my hair. This particular day was a lot cooler than the usual 90+ degrees of a regular Southern California summer, so I fished out a pair of light, long, swooshy pants.

Can't forget to turn on music when applying makeup! I've been listening to Kygo nonstop recently (and beautiful Crystals by Of Monsters and Men has been on replay).


From left to right: a spray of toner, a dab of pore eraser, a layer of foundation, and a dot of concealer complete my skin routine. That's all, really. I am yet to have explored the realms of primer, bronzer, highlighter... what else is there again? I'll just blame laziness.


The rest of my everyday makeup is pretty simple as well. I use two different shades of eyebrow pencils to fill in my brows, two liquid eye liners to line my eyes, and my all-time favorite mascara for my eyelashes. If you'd like to see what my full makeup routine is in detail, let me know!

Hands down, this is the greatest lip product to exist on Earth. I'd choose matte over glossy any day, and the color is literally to die for. Personally, it matches my skin tone extremely well and I love how I can wear any clothing with it! It does dry out quickly, but a swipe of chapstick does the trick.

I shower every other day, so on days when I don't shower I like to "soak" my hair in this amazing dry shampoo. It's just awesome, in my experience. I've tried a number of dry shampoos and no other brand beats this one. The scent isn't too shabby either. In terms of styling my hair, I usually go with my natural mane, straighten it, or tie it up into a high ponytail.

I had a delicious meal with my best friends at 42nd Street Gastropub the other night. Deviled eggs and macaroni & cheese, yum.

Alrighty folks, that's the end of my summer morning routine! I guess not much quite happens, but it's interesting to actually break down my mornings and see how I spend my time. Feel free to share with me your thoughts! See you soon.