My Favourite Beauty Products for Autumn

It is almost the very end of Autumn with just over a week left till we hit the wintry months. The leaves have just turned into various shades of red, orange and yellows, and I'm particularly fond of the red foliage of Japanese maples that I find in the streets. I'm a little sad to see the end of the season and I feel like it's gone by too quickly for it to be unnatural. No doubt the result of global warming, as the seasons shift and end sooner than expected. Bilbo Baggins would angrily shake his fist at all of us for neglecting our planet.

Since we're so close to the official end of Fall, what better time is there to show everyone a collection of my favourite products of the season?

When one thinks of Autumn, one thinks of warm hues, such as rust, chocolate, scarlet and even mustards. In fact, I recently ordered a couple of pressed eyeshadows from Colourpop during their free international shipping sale, and one of them was Paper Tiger, a mustard yellow, which is perfect for this season. It arrived last Tuesday, and I tried it out on Thursday. It's not as mustard as I would have liked, but more of a golden yellow, much like Winnie the Pooh's fur. Nonetheless, it's still a great shade and a wonderful addition to my collection, as I do not have a yellow like this one.

I finally tried out the Milani Amore Matte Lip Creme in Covet last week, a dark brown matte lipstick. I didn't fancy it that much, as it was more of a cool brown and I was after something more chocolatey. Nonetheless, I stepped out of my comfort zone and finally tried a deep brown shade. No one complimented me on it though, so I know it didn't suit me at all. It ended up looking almost black on me.

I alternated between quite a few palettes over the course of this season, and it was hard to narrow it down to just one or two. Especially when I'm trying to make use out of all of them all at the same time. Not an easy task, let me tell you that. I chose the I Heart Makeup Salted Caramel palette for its caramel and chocolate tones (duh), the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance because it just screams Fall, and the Kat Von D Shade and Light Eye Palette, because it's so easy to create smoky looks with it.

My two ultimate lipstick picks of the season were the Shanghai Suzy Tanielle Desert Rose and the Lime Crime Velvetine in Pumpkin. Pumpkin is my favourite lipsticks of all time, it's such an amazing shade and I love the texture as well as the coverage. It is a true brick red that fits in with the season so perfectly. Whenever I wear bold, matte shades such as the Pumpkin, I love having a decent bit of highlight, and aside from my all-round favourite Mary-Lou, the Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Highlighter in Radiant Lights is perfect for more of an intense glow to the tops of the cheeks.

I'm also really fond of the Australis Ready, Set, Go Pressed Finishing Powder, as it helps to control shine and set my makeup in place without altering the colour of my base. I'm also liking the e.l.f. Studio Blush in Tickled Pink as it's a warm muted peach that works with a lot of my fall lipsticks.

I recently ordered my first product from The Ordinary, the Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA Moisturiser, to replace the SugarBaby Daily Moisture Creme. I love it so much, though I've only used it for over a week. It doesn't leave much of a residue on the skin, yet it is so hydrating I've yet to find a single dry patch on my face. And, it doesn't make my face tingle when I use it in conjunction with the Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner, unlike the SugarBaby moisturiser. I recently went back to using the Natio Restore Cleansing Milk and there's such a huge improvement in my skin. I've had fewer breakouts since then!

I'm really excited about trying more of The Ordinary's skincare, and hopefully, their foundations as everyone and their aunt seems to be going nuts over them. I'm just so pleased with the results from the moisturiser, especially because it was so cheap. I love that the brand has no bells or whistles, that their products are formulated to deliver on our skincare needs and nothing else - no fancy ingredients, no scents, no "benefits" and on top of all that, it's all vegan and cruelty-free. Excuse me while I go and intentionally waste my other skincare products so that I can replace them with The Ordinary.

I had this post completely written and edited to go live on Thursday night after I finished work. But, despite having saved this at least six times before pressing publish, the wi-fi decided to shit all over my effort and I lost all of my progress that I made that night. I was going to write the rest again on Friday, but I had such a long day at work being left on my own to supervise five students while the manager had to leave due to the flu. Long story short, I was chewed out by a customer that specifically ordered a dish in the morning to have for lunch, but the students ran out of them before thinking to set one aside for her. I feel absolutely awful about it, and wish I'd had the foresight to save one for the customer.

Sadly, it wasn't the only dish that was oversold, as we also ran out of another dish. I had to approach at least six customers asking if we could change their order. I almost had a meltdown at the end of the day because it was so difficult and I didn't have experience with this kind of situation. According to a colleague and a couple of customers, I did really well for someone faced with such a difficult challenge. These types of days are exactly why I wrote a post on how I relax after a long day, which is right here if you would like to give it a peruse.

Hopefully, next Friday will be much easier now that I have an accurate idea of how busy Fridays are at the café.

How's everyone going this past week? 
Do you have an ultimate favourite lipstick shade for fall?


How I Relax After A Particularly Long Day

Lately, I've been having more than my fair share of long days, and to be honest, I'm so tired of it. There was the move, and then the return to work after a two-week break, and there's the issue of having a stubborn and overconfident co-work that think they know how to cook anything and everything. It is a very frustrating feeling to have had the person work there for over four months and show very little improvement in all areas of business, and blaming everyone else for their mistakes. It's very frustrating when everyone else is delayed in finishing on time because we have to correct their mistakes.

Last Thursday was a bit explosive because the rest of the staff had a short meeting on how to improve things. When told about the fact that we were making a visual guide for her, she started arguing and then complaining that no one else ever gets told what or how to do anything. I had to bite my tongue when she made a complaint as to how I was there as long as her, yet never got told off. Uh, maybe because I'm qualified AND experienced? I didn't have to say anything because the manager said what I was thinking in a much nicer way.

Luckily, when I get home, I have a few things that help me relax and unwind before I go to bed. Aside from my usual ministrations of sinking my teeth into some comforting carb-loaded food such as pasta or mi goreng, I also like to do the following...

Hot Beverages
A cup of tea is always much appreciated after a long day. I find tea to be rather therapeutic, and there's something comforting about a hot, sweet fluid running through your body as it warms you from inside out. I personally love drinking it from my Bed Bath 'n' Table tea cup, because it's a little bigger than a conventional tea cup and so it contains more tea for me to enjoy. I don't like hot chocolate, and coffee is a rare occurrence for me as I'm not a big fan of it.

Hot Showers
I love hot showers, and that's no secret. I keep the fan off while the shower is running so that the bathroom gets all steamy and warm. I like to have my pyjamas on standby, as well as clean fluffy towels for when I get out of the shower. While in the shower, most of my time is spent simply standing in the water as the stresses of the day melt away one by one. Sometimes I think about the stuff that bothered me that day, but as soon as I turn the knob to close the water, these thoughts are flushed down the drain and I start afresh.

I've never gone out for a massage if anyone can believe that? I've never really had the funds for them, and personally, I like to spend my money on other things such as new highlighters. However, whenever I've had a very long day, I like to ease the tension in my face by rubbing circles firmly into my forehead and temples. I can feel the tension melting away, and it just makes me feel lighter. It's even better when I do this after a long, hot shower. I also massage my scalp and run my nails through my hair.

Foot Rubs
Sean can tell when I've had an awful day, and he does what he can to make me feel better. So, aside from making me my tea in my favourite cup, he'll also rub my feet for me, knowing that they're killing me after standing all day in the kitchen at work. He's some kind of miracle worker because as soon as he puts his hands on my feet, the pain starts disappearing and they don't hurt as much anymore.

Couch Potatoing
I like snuggling on the couch, either with my laptop on my lap or up to Sean while catching up on our shows. I wish I could blog after a long day, but my motivation is usually drained at the end of the day. If possible, I like to catch up on series that don't require too much focus, such as Riverdale, Agents of Shield or even The Big Bang Theory. I rarely ever binge-watch a new series because I can't be bothered looking for something new to watch, let alone spend an entire day watching TV.

Organising My Makeup
I know this probably comes across as really weird to some people, but I do like putting things in order after a long day. I like compartmentalising things, and doing my makeup is small enough of an activity to not drain the last of my energy. It's therapeutic putting everything back in the right order in the drawer compartments. As if I'm putting the pieces of my brain back together until everything makes sense.

Now, most times, when I've had a long day, I'm either extremely irritable or too sleepy to even bother participating in socialisation. I'm said to be scary when the wrong buttons are pushed and my patience runs thin. When I'm trying to read and I keep getting interrupted by Sean or my family, I get really catty. Solitude is important for me in general, but I definitely need it on those days when I am so done with everything. Especially if I don't want to upset everyone that I hold most dear.

Many people have different ways of ending a long day that helps them to recuperate. Some take baths, some chow down through a block of chocolate, and some even take naps. I don't fancy naps, it makes my day feel even longer because it feels like I've experienced two days in one and it makes me too confused for my liking. I don't take baths either because if I do, I like my water blisteringly hot and I don't want to refill the water every five minutes just to heat it up. It's wasteful.

I've taken on the Friday shift for the next two weeks as my manager is going overseas, so I just know I'm looking forward to more long days. There's also the matter of having to help prepare mum's house for my nephew's first birthday party, and that includes baking and decorating his cake. Here's to being hella busy the next two weeks!

How do you relax and unwind after a very long day?


Is It Truly Better Than Sex?

I've been seriously inactive on my blog, Twitter and Instagram accounts, and it drives me up the wall. I've finished unpacking, more or less, but it just seems like there's no end to distractions here. Mum's going to Japan on Tuesday night for a little over two weeks to spend some time with my sister, so hopefully, I'll have a grasp on blogging again before she gets back. I like being in control, and I don't enjoy having time run away from me. I get really antsy and impatient when this happens.

Now, now, loved ones, this is not an exploration or exposition on my love life. Believe it or not, this is a review on the Too Faced mascara risquély named as Better Than Sex. I'm not sure what it is about brands naming their most popular products with rather suggestive terms (Nars Orgasm, I'm looking at you!) but I think it's all a marketing ploy to make people curious about said products. I actually prefer products with silly puns, and I have a little internal giggle every time I see theBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer or the Balm Appetit palette in my collection.

I'm sorry, I just love puns.

Anyhoo, the Better Than Sex is the latest mascara in my Mascara Trials as I search for my Holy Grail. As some of you may know, my criterion for the perfect mascara is that it has to separate, lengthen, volumise if possible, and be thin enough in consistency to evenly coat each lash without clumping them together or looking dry and thick. Oh, and it must stand up to the humidity behind my glasses and not flake throughout the day. I prefer to avoid waterproof mascara because, in the long run, it has been said to make lashes fall out. I also don't require it for the most part as I rarely cry, and don't suffer from hayfever or have watery eyes.

Let's get right down to the review for this mascara. Is it truly better than sex?

I have the deluxe-sized version of Better Than Sex, which came in the Grande Hotel Cafe set that my super awesome bestie Cat bought for me for Christmas. Luckily, she bought it before they sold to Estee Lauder, so that makes it okay in my books. The packaging for the mascara is pretty basic, with a pearly pale pink, extremely sturdy plastic case with black lettering. The deluxe-sized mascara is no bigger than 10cm, which makes it suitable to pop into the handbag for touch-ups (which I never do) or when travelling. The spoolie is fat on one end, which then tapers down towards the middle before increasing in diameter to the tip. This increases chances of both curl and volume.

I actually liked the length of the applicator, because it made it so much easier to get to the outer corners without smudging the skin on the lid or on the temples.

The formula is not so thick that I have to scrape it off before application, though I have tried it that way as well as straight from the tube. I find that scraping it off takes much longer both in terms of actually scraping it and applying it to the lashes, as you have to cover a lot of ground. Not scraping it means you get an even and quick distribution of product on the lashes, without getting too much on it in one go and clumping them. Both methods separate the lashes nicely, and the volumising effect is quite stunning as my lashes were thickened while being separated, and it showed me that I had more lashes than I expected. I didn't get much length with this one, but I wasn't so hung up on it as I was really happy with the way the volumising effect looked. 

The problem is, though, is that while this lasted all day and looked great from start to finish, this flaked and spread down to my under-eyes like crazy towards the end of the day. In fact, it looked quite dusty at the end of the day, with some settling in my crease, so when I pulled my bottom lid down slightly, you could see a line of black where the crease is. This makes me look older and as if I hadn't slept in days. This aspect is a hard pass for me.

So, is this mascara truly better than sex? Sorry, no, because while I really liked the volume, I wasn't too hot about the lack of length. I can't say much about the curl because my eyelashes are naturally curly and I don't need any kind of hold when it comes to them. And, I'm definitely not pleased with the way it ended up under my eyes towards the end of the day.

Naomi sent over a couple of goodies from Japan a few weeks ago, and the seashell compact mirror was one of them. I'm in love with the mirror, it's just so cute yet classy, and not as girly. The sakura dish was a gift to her from one of her Couchsurfing friends when she went to visit her home for dinner, because Naomi bought them a nice box of fancy cakes, haha. She found theBalm products at a store in Sapporo, but before I had her buy anything, I asked for photos of the shop as well as lipstick swatches. When I saw that swatches were a different colour to what was found on websites, I knew they were total fakes.

People, do not buy fakes, it's seriously unsafe as it is packed with toxic ingredients that can damage your skin beyond repair. Do not buy from eBay/Aliexpress, market stalls, makeup flipping websites, apps and the like, unless you can prove that they're a licensed stockist or if they have the original proof of purchase. Alice wrote a great post on the dangers of buying and using fake makeup, and she also interviewed her sister on the matter. Check out her post here, and leave her a comment!

Have you found this mascara, or any other mascara, to be better than sex? Leave a comment below, my sweets! 


Nine Tips On How to Make Moving Easier

As of Saturday, we have officially moved out of the little two-bedroom unit located in the outer suburbs of west Melbourne, and into mum's house. We're not completely moved in yet, as we've got way too much stuff to unpack and put into storage. We're almost done, though, and it shouldn't take us too long to have our bedroom sorted out. We moved back to mum's house because we wanted to save up for our first home. Not a surprise, really, as many young Australians are doing that these days. More often than not, in order to save up for a first house, we have the option to either rent further out from town, share a place with others or move back in with the parents.

Been there, done that.

I hate moving, hate it with a passion, and I scoff at everyone who complains about having to move for the first time in several years. "No, you do not understand, I despise it - try moving houses every damn year!" We've moved five times in as many years, and the bitterness towards moving house just increases with every move.

It's expensive, it's exhausting and it's exacting on my stress levels! The amount of tape, bubble wrap and heavy lifting that I have to go through is insane, and every year I wonder how the hell we have so much crap. And whether I should just throw everything out and start anew, because damn it, moving sucks! Half of me just wants to burn everything to a crisp before we move into our first home and start anew.

Rant over.

Over the years, I've figured out the best ways to minimise the stress, frustration and exhaustion that comes from moving house. And because of how many times I've relocated, I think it's safe to say that I am seasoned in the (horrible and hateful) art of moving, which is why I thought that this post would come in handy.

1. Don't trust anyone to move furniture safely
Either expect it to be scratched up like there's no tomorrow (a la my fridge of yesteryear and my vintage coffee table) or watch the movers like a hawk. Or, better yet, do it yourself because you know you'll do a better job of it, and if something happens, then you have no one to blame but yourself. I usually set aside blankets and doonas for this reason, and I even wrapped my new fridge with a blanket before putting it on the truck.

2. Book things in advance.
Know your dates and plan ahead. There's nothing worse than leaving the booking of the moving truck until a few days before the move, and having to fork out a shit tonne of cash for something bigger than you really needed, or not being able to book anything. We went with Thrifty, as they usually have the cheapest single-day rates. We also bought insurance for the rental truck, so that we didn't have to pay the excess if anything were to happen to the truck. It's much less stressful this way, not having to worry about damaging the vehicle.

3. Declutter first before packing
This time around, we knew exactly how much time we had left to move, so I made it a point to get rid of crap that we did not need. We plan on having an energy and space-efficient home and that means getting rid of all the unnecessary stuff and keeping things that did double duty. A coffee machine that eats up single-use pods? Toss it, because it's awful for the environment. Get rid of all the clothes that are ratty, holey or hasn't been worn in a year.

4. Stock up on all the packing material before you start
Nothing's worse than running out of tape and leaving boxes filled but open and no way of stacking them without causing damage. Scour Gumtree, Trading Post and even local buy/swap/sell pages for free moving boxes. I also grabbed a couple of sturdy boxes from the skips at the local shopping centre, because I needed them quickly and couldn't be stuffed looking online. Have plenty of tape on hand, as well as old newspapers and a roll or two of bubble wrap. If you have any of the reusable shopping bags you can get from the supermarket, use those to pack DVDS, books, clothes, soft toys and things that aren't breakable. Also, blankets, towels and sheets make great packaging material.

5. Play Tetris
By Tetris, I mean properly working out the best way to make everything fit inside boxes and minimising space wastage. I see so many people wasting space, and boxes themselves, because they just shove them in there and call it a day. Tetris is all about slotting things into place in order to win as many scores as possible, and that is the best way to pack your stuff. It also ensures that nothing rattles around in the boxes and break on impact. Stack plates upright to prevent breakage and wrap glasses and mugs individually with newspaper or bubble wrap. Stuff gaps in boxes with soft things like socks, scarves, towels and even small soft toys. Use suitcases to store clothes.

6. Pack your bags
Pack a bag with a couple of outfits, toiletries, pyjamas, and even a small makeup bag if you need to. This is to take the stress out of figuring out where something, in particular, is the first few days after a move. I had work on Thursday, and I packed all of my essentials for my work day, so I didn't have to do it on Wednesday night. I ended up not going to work, after all, as I'd hurt my back and my ankles were killing me after helping someone push his broken-down car up a hill and around a corner. Not fun at all when it's wet and cold, the wind so biting you had to grit your teeth.

7. Have a break
Nothing boosts morale halfway through the day like a hot and satisfying meal, followed by a cup of tea. I threw an entire packet of spinach and ricotta pastries in the oven, and it was exactly what we needed after braving an entire morning of moving heavy furniture in the rain and chill that nips at every exposed flesh. After that, we were considerably more alert and in a much better mood for it, and things were finished in no time.

8. Clean as you pack
If you're renting, no doubt you have to return the property to the state that you received it. I found it a much better use of my time to clean each room as I went along, namely the kitchen, bathroom and the laundry. Leave the floors till last, and take out the rubbish every week to be collected - this way, it doesn't overflow and you're not stuck wondering if you have to take them to the tip to be disposed of. I'm actually really fond of using diluted Sugar Soap to clean everything, even the oven. It just makes easy work of grease, dirt marks on the walls and even shower scum.

9. Plan meals in advance
Or don't cook at all. If you really need to cook, try to make use of what's in your pantry or the refrigerator. Use Taste to input ingredients that you have in order to find recipes, and it brings up the best ones to try. To be honest, it's so much easier to heat up whatever is in the freezer, like ready-made meals and finger food such as spring rolls. Or grab takeout for the last few nights so you don't have to wash dishes. I packed the kitchen a week in advance, setting aside plates, bowls, trays and pans that I planned to donate, as well as glasses and a few mugs that were being taken to mum's place.

Another suggestion that I've got to make is to mark out your days and break all of your tasks down to a few jobs a day. This way you're not rushing to do everything in the last few days, and you're not overwhelmed by it all. It also gives you an idea of where to start for each day, and that really helps to get you into the mood of working smart.

Oh, and don't forget to drink a lot of water. Very important, water.

Do you have any tips of your own that you would add to this list?


Where I Find My Blog Photography Props

You know, when I first started blogging, I didn't have much in the way of props. It wasn't like I had the financial freedom to go out and buy whatever I thought looked perfect. I had to make do with a couple of things, as well as stuff that I found lying around the house. That made for photos that may have suited the theme I went for back then, but I wanted something bright and classy with soft colours. I wanted something cute, something more fitting for a beauty blogger.

I looked online for cheap stuff, but the best ones were more expensive than I wanted to spend. It was hard trying to find props that didn't look tacky, but I made do with a can or two of spray paint on a few things. I also scoped out some sales wherever I could, but for the most part, it was a lot of searching and a lot of improvisation. A lot of the props I wanted were in the US or the UK, and it wasn't easy to get them, so I had to settle for the ones I could get here in Australia.

 I thought I'd come up with a list of affordable places in Australia where I found some cute props. Aside from a set of Zoeva rose gold dupe brushes (full review here), I've never bought anything online.

Bed, Bath n' Table
Bed, Bath n' Table is one of the easiest places for me to find props for the blog, and the stock photos on their website are also great for inspiration. Their decor and bathroom goodies are great ideas, was well as their cups and bowls. I usually wait until there's a sale or I just pick up something small and cute. My little owl ring dish is from Bed, Bath n' Table and it only cost me a few dollars. Even some of their dinnerware can be used as a prop, and I'm obsessed with their patterned and textured plates. If I was a millionaire, my kitchen would be stocked with these! They've also got some gorgeous trays that I just drool over every time. They've also got a nice array of artificial flowers that look almost realistic, and I picked up a bunch of white tulips from there at one point.

This place often has some really good pieces to use as a prop, such as vases, candle holders, ornaments, artificial flowers, trays and even fabrics. They always hold sales, and it makes it so easy to find something new. I bought half-a-metre of white teddy bear fabric, a silver candle votive that I spray painted gold, and a flocked bunny. There's been a number of other things that I've wanted to get, but because they're often a little pricey, I usually don't buy anything unless it can perform double duty as decor for the home, storage, etc.

This popular department store chain has really blossomed over the past few years, keeping up with the current trends. I love that I can grab a goodie or two pretty cheaply, and it just works perfectly as a prop. In fact, Kmart even stocks marble-printed contact paper, which we all know is one of the best backdrops for blog photography! Geometric shapes, gold finishes, blush tones and even faux fur are all so easy to find at Kmart. I have a furry cushion from Kmart that does double duty as a 'rug' in my photos when I remove the filling. Also, foam core boards are so cheap there compared to Officeworks, and they work amazingly well at bouncing light in photography setups. I've changed the look of some things from there by giving them a coat of spray paint, such as some of the hexagon trays.

Typo is one of the best places for all kinds of props, although I do think they're a bit overpriced for the quality. I do like visiting the store whenever I can in case I can find some inspiration in their wares. A lot of the time you can find something similar to what Typo stocks but for a fraction of the price (such as LED lights, which only cost me $3 at Kmart). They're always up to date on trends, but I usually have a hard time finding something I love as a lot of things can be quite tacky. I do like some of their stationery, and I often use their daily planners in my photos.

This may come as a surprise for some people, but I do like going to Daiso for really cheap props. Some things may appear a little tacky, but they often have some great stuff. Vases, little plates, trays, baskets and organisers are some of the things you can find there. I spray painted a wire basket gold so that it matched the rest of the decorations on my desk, but a lot of other things can also be customised in a similar way. They also have some really cute stationery pieces such as washi tape, pens, stamps and even erasers.

I also pick up the Frankie magazine at the local Coles or Woolworths when the newest issue comes out, the pages within make such great props. The Reject Shop sometimes has cute things such as wire baskets and ornaments. They've also got some nice candles. Clothes and accessory shops like Colette Hayman and Forever New sometimes stock Insta-worthy products like little trinket dishes and gold pineapples. I also love Colette Hayman because the jewellery, sunglasses and other accessories can make great props. Adairs and other homewares stores are also amazing for when you're looking for trays, vases or plates.

Sometimes, if luck is on my side, I find some decent bits at thrift stores/op shops, especially things that I may be able to transform to fit into my theme with a few licks of spray paint. Nonna's garage has also been a great place to find some old bits, and just last time I found an old dish on a short stand, and I plan to spray-paint it a matte blush when I pick the can up at Bunnings. I also found an old, tarnished brass spoon that looks great in recipe photos in Nonna's garage.

I've also salvaged some timber cast-offs from out front of construction sites and made my own photography boards. It just looks so much better if it's the real thing, instead of the wallpaper samples, and it didn't cost a thing aside from a bit of paint that I borrowed from Mum and some screws to put it all together. I have a tutorial on how to make your own boards in case you guys want to make your own.

Where else do you guys find your photography props?


The Beauty Tools that I Must Have in My Kit

The day of the move is coming ever closer, and I am trying to get ahead on the blog so that I'm not falling behind. I've got a few posts written up, for the most part, so all I need to do now is take photos and edit the posts. I've had this idea in my blogging notebook for months, but never got around to ticking it off because other ideas just seemed more interesting. However, I thought I'd just bite the bullet and write the post.

I'm actually really happy with the photos for this post, mainly because I've found a theme that I really like for this blog. I also love these photos because my friend, Allen, showed me a way to easily adjust the white balance on photoshop without faffing around on the Camera Raw File filter for ages, and the result are whites that look more neutral/grey-toned, instead of leaning towards blue, green, pink, orange or whatever colour the lighting decides to bring me that day. Thanks, mate!

A lot of people have their favourite beauty tools, ones that they use to apply their makeup, for grooming, and even for skincare. There are lots of tools out there in the world, including beauty blenders, eyelash curlers, Clarisonic devices and even Tangle Teezers. I'm a girl of simple means, so I like to put more of my money towards the products themselves, rather than the tools that I use them with, so I don't have a lot of beauty tools. Here they are!

Cotton Buds
Also known internationally as q-tips, these are indispensable tools that I just cannot do without. I prefer the individually wrapped ones from Daiso, because they're much more hygienic for when you need to pop a few into your handbag for touch-ups. It's also better for when you've gotten something stuck in your eye and you need to get it out without risk of infection. I also use q-tips to correct eyeliner and to wipe away any mascara mistakes. Here's a tip (pun intended): wait for the mascara to dry first before using a dry q-tip to remove it. This way there is minimal damage to your makeup and you're not making a mess of it.

I have a select few brushes that I always reach for, and I rarely ever change it up unless they're dirty and I need a fresh one in a pinch. My favourites are a buffing brush from a bamboo set that I bought on eBay, the Real Techniques Blush Brush and Setting Brush, and all the crease blending brushes I can get my hands on. I also have a few angled eyeliner brushes as they are so handy for when I do my brows with Freedom Brow Pomade.

Palette Knife
I must have this palette knife for when I use my RCMA foundation palette, as there's no better or more hygienic way of collecting the right amount of foundation to use. Using a brush to dip into the palette not only introduces bacteria and contaminants, but it also prevents you from being able to warm up the foundation before application. Which is what you need to do, to ensure a flawless and natural finish.

Powder Puff
I have a powder puff that came with a Milani Multitasking Face Powder, and I use it every time to set my under-eye concealer as well as to mattify my nose. My under-eye concealer creases like a mofo when I don't use a finishing powder to set it, and I've yet to find something that works better. I just press on a thin layer of the Australis Ready, Set, Go Finishing Powder with the puff, and then immediately brush off the excess with the Real Techniques Setting Brush.

Isopropyl Alcohol
The one I currently have is 99% alcohol, although I should have 75% for proper sanitation of brushes and equipment. I use the 99% alcohol to spot clean my brushes in an instant, and also to clean the surface of the desk of any makeup. I use it also to clean and sanitise my palette knife before I put it in contact with my foundation palette.

Mirror with 3x Magnification
I don't use the 3x magnified side often because it has a tendency to make me go in and attack my blackheads. I like to use this mirror instead of the one on the wall because then I can place it at the distance that I need it at. I also like to adjust it so that it captures the light and reflects it back onto my face, which makes it so much easier to see what I'm doing. Plucking my eyebrows is also a breeze with this must-have.

I have a pair from Manicare that I find does my brows easily. It's got a straight top, which I prefer over an angled or pointy pair of tweezers. It doesn't have a stubby blunt edge, but a tapered one, so I can slide it underneath stubborn or small hairs and just yank it out.

See? A girl of rather simple means. However, I plan on getting a high-quality brush set for my birthday this year, and I've got my eye on a few options. It's a bit hard trying to decide, as I want to stick with vegan brushes from a cruelty-free company and a lot of the brush sets I'm looking at are from overseas. My ideal set would contain a blush brush, a powder brush, a setting brush, a buffing brush for foundation, a couple of crease brushes and eyeshadow brushes.

Perhaps buying matching individual ones from a particular brand would be a lot easier as I'd make sure I get to use every brush in the set. Brand recommendations, anyone?

Do you have any particular beauty tools you must have in your kit?


Makeup Revolution The One Highlight & Blush Review

It's after midnight as I post this, but it's still Easter in my books, so I hope you all are having/had a great time! Who doesn't like getting free chocolate and binge-eating them to their hearts' content? Oh, right, me. I'm not as fond of chocolate as I used to be when I was in high school. I blame the fact that I had to suffer through a whole term of chocolate-stained chef's whites, chocolate under my fingernails and smudges of chocolate on my arms, neck and even face.

However, that doesn't stop me from wearing Too Faced's Chocolate Bar for Easter yesterday.

The time for summery hues has passed now that we're smack dab in the middle of April, but I wanted to review the following products for those that live in the Northern Hemisphere. After all, what kind of person would I be if I didn't help my fellow beauty addicts decide whether or not they want to add the blush or highlighter to their collection?


Things That I Do When I Get My Period

So, it's almost that time of the month when Aunt Irma comes to town. I suppose I should consider myself lucky since I don't really suffer from the typical pains that others experience. Especially the unfortunate souls that face debilitating pain regularly, usually due to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or Endometriosis. I feel for you, guys, I know way too many sufferers and the amount of pain they go through is appalling.

There's a lot of taboo surrounding this natural part of our lives, and it annoys me. It annoys me that we have to keep it all hushed up and hide the evidence that we're on our period. It annoys me that people are still so awkward and embarrassed when it comes to talking about periods. It pisses me off when men get all squeamish about it, because it's completely natural, just like breastfeeding. Sean says "ew" when I get into the really gory details about it, but overall, he's chill about grabbing a bag of pads when I need him to.