I started blogging in October 2011. It was kind of a random thing- my friend Jessica and I had stumbled upon "Beauty Broadcast" aka emilynoel83 as she is known on YouTube. She is so down to earth and her videos are so fun to watch. Jessica mentioned that we should start up a YouTube channel and a blog, and that's how TruBeautyGems was born. The funky spelling comes from the combination of our last names. "Tru" is the prefix of Jessica's and "Gem" is the prefix of mine. I think it's kind of funny that one of our first things we did on the internet relating to beauty/blogging is starting a YouTube channel. We were so bad at making videos it wasn't even funny. I'm not tech savvy. At all. I can write up a review and throw some pictures in there no problem, but ask me to edit a video, and no thanks. If you search for TruBeautyGems on YouTube these days, you won't find it, because we took it down.
Fast forward from October to December, and we had some exciting things happen to our blog. We have always been makeup junkies. I am more into the high end side of things, and Jessica was into the drugstore. It was a great mix, and it was fun to watch me dabble more into drugstore and Jessica get sucked into the high end scene. I won a contest called the Rimmel 10 contest, which was super fun, and I just concluded it this past November 2012. Me winning that was as group effort, and it gave us the approval we needed on our blog to know we were doing cool stuff! It also looked good to be involved with Rimmel boosting the publicity for their products when we were trying to make company contacts.
Fast forward a little more and in January 2012, my husband took a job in Washington (we were living 26 hours from there in Wisconsin) and I found out I was pregnant. Blogging took a bit of a turn for me as I went from working 3 jobs to none, and relocated to a different area where I knew nobody. It was a really fun hobby to keep me company in a new town, and I will always be grateful for the online beauty community I had built during that time. It kept me wanting to keep putting on makeup, and kept me feeling pretty despite my growing body.
You don't even need to wear makeup every day to be a successful beauty blogger- I know I sure don't. Sometimes during the week, the only time I put makeup on at all is so I can write up a post or test out a product to show my readers. About 95% of the pictures on my blog are unedited. As a new mom, and as a person who likes to spend time doing other stuff in my day besides blogging, I don't really have the time or energy to sit there and painstakingly remove each flaw from my face. The pictures on my blog are a reflection of me and what I look like in real life. I want people who look at a product to see what the colors are really like, and how they perform on a real person. Don't get me wrong, I do love looking at awesome photography in perfect lighting, but in my opinion, that's what sites like Temptalia are for. I don't have studio lighting in my house, and frankly, if I can't accomplish it by a window with my smart phone, I'm not interested.
Shortly after having my baby, TruBeautyGems branched off and now Jessica and I each have separate blogs. She branched off and created a blog at www.intrubeauty.blogspot.com, and I'm now located at www.justinasgems.com. Our original site, www.trubeautygems.blogspot.com is still live, and at some point we would love to transform it into a beauty community of sorts, but it's still undecided what we should make it, so it sits there waiting. I am still blogging about beauty, but at some point would like to blog about motherhood, the books I'm reading, and other topics of interest. There's so much more to life than beauty and makeup! I'm still trying to find my niche in blogging. Another thing I've been doing a lot of is giveaways. It is always a high point in my day when I get a package of beauty products to review in the mail- why not share the wealth? When we were active on TruBeautyGems, we were constantly doing giveaways of stuff we purchased at the store and we sent packages ourselves. Regularly, we would do giveaways that cost us $30-40 out of pocket to gain followers. Now, I only do company sponsored giveaways. Thankfully, the companies I work with have been very generous to me and my followers, so I regularly have giveaways that are better than I could provide for my readers anyways.
Before I started blogging, my favorite beauty companies were Clinique, Lancome, and Benefit. They are still three of my favorite brands and very trusty. I probably owned 3-4 perfume bottles, and a few Clinique moisturizers for skincare, and that was it. Fast forward to a year and a half of blogging, and my perfume collection has exploded, I have quadruple the amount of makeup I've started with, and I've been introduced to a slew of new companies. I couldn't even choose my favorites anymore! I still turn to Clinique for my basic skincare needs, but a recent favorite I've discovered is Le Mieux. I still love my $30 Diorshow mascara, but I like my $7 L'Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black at least as much. One of my favorite hairsprays is Prive, which I never would have discovered had it not been for blogging. I also love Zoya nailpolish, and live for Clinique Chubbysticks (I have almost the entire collection of the 3 lines they've come out with!) I almost forgot to mention I discovered Harvey Prince through blogging, and they're one of my favorite perfume brands. There are lots of smaller companies out there and it's worth giving them a try. Just because a brand doesn't sell their products at Sephora doesn't mean that they're not just as good.
Please feel free to stop by my page anytime! I am always either hosting a giveaway or in the middle of planning my next one. We have lots of fun on my page :-)