My First Impression of Makeup Geek

I've finally jumped on the Makeup Geek bandwagon! Granted, it's a very tiny jump. Hell, not even a jump but a toe tentatively hovering over the line. Hear me out, I'm on a very tight budget, but I wanted to try Makeup Geek out once before I go on a buying spree to pick up all the colours I'm after. I needed to ensure that the money I was spending, not just on the eyeshadows themselves, but also on the postage, was going to be worth it once I made the commitment to buy the colours on my wishlist.

I'm hell-bent on creating a green eyeshadow palette for myself, as it annoys me to no end that there aren't any cruelty-free green palettes that I can buy. Therefore, I'm resorting to my last option: curating the colours individually and then adding them to a magnetic palette when I find one that I love. I plan on having at least eight green shadows by the time I finish collecting them. I don't want to remove pans from existing palettes because I'm that kind of person that likes to keep everything intact and in pristine condition.

I only bought one single eyeshadow from Makeup Geek, and that is Jester, a foiled olive green that shines a lovely golden chartreuse colour when the light catches it. I would have bought more shadows if I had a looser budget, but as one foiled shadow costs about $13 AUD, plus shipping, I needed to settle on just one for now, especially when I hadn't tried the brand before and didn't know how it would work for me.

I used to have a metallic olive green pencil eyeliner back in high school that I loved to the moon and back, but I've since used it up (quickly, I might add) and could not find the exact same colour elsewhere, as they were either too pale, too dark, too blue, or too brown. And some were too hard to apply. This eyeshadow is the exact same colour as the pencil I once loved, and since I have a mixer from Makeup Revolution, I can either use this as an eyeliner or simply as an eyeshadow.

I'm not doing a full review on this just yet, as I have yet to truly test the lasting and blending properties of this baby, and I would like to purchase more shades before I do a full review on the brand.

I did a few swatches for this particular eyeshadow, as I wanted to show you all how this appears when you apply it using different methods. In this case, from left to right, I mixed it with a bit of the Makeup Revolution Aqua Seal and applied with a brush. I used my finger for the second swatch, a brush for the third one, and the far right swatch was applied on top of primer with a brush. The Aqua Seal has made it much more intense, but you'd need to use quite a bit of product to get this kind of effect, as most of it gets absorbed into the brush. Using a brush on bare skin makes it appear washed out, so you'd need to layer it to make it more intense. The primer swatch has the best coverage and looks properly foiled rather than just shimmery.

Going by what I've seen so far, Makeup Geek seems promising, though I wonder how the matte formula differs from the foiled ones. I have decided to purchase a few more shades later when there is a sale or when a free international shipping deal is offered. So far I have four more green ones I'd like to get, as well as a few other colours. Who knows, I might go with Makeup Geek for a To Me, From Me gift for my birthday later this year.

What are your Makeup Geek must-haves? Do you have any magnetic palette recommendations?


Cruelty-Free Products That I've Been Using Lately

It's been a while since I did my last update on the products that I've been loving. Since then, I've gone back to some old favourites, found a new favourite brand and I've discovered some new favourites along the way as well. I've been trimming down my collection a bit, lately, after realising that some things just aren't compatible with my skin, like the Essence Sooo Glow highlighter which causes my skin to break out where it is applied. I also threw out the Makeup Revolution The One Highlight stick, as the glitter is just way too chunky for my liking, and gets everywhere whether I like it or not.

The past few months have really seen me mature quite a bit when it comes to makeup. I'm no longer as obsessed with buying more products, and I have very few things on my wishlist now. I mean, aside from curating my own green eyeshadow palette, I cannot think of much else that I'm excited about. I haven't fallen out of love with makeup, I use it all the time, but other things are just more important in my life. That said, here's what I've been using lately.

First of all, I must rave about The Ordinary, because ever since I made the switch I've had far fewer breakouts. Not only that, my pores also don't look gross at the end of the day, my makeup sits better on my face, and I rarely encounter dry patches or irritation due to said dry patches. Currently, I use the Natural Moisturizing Factors (best moisturiser I've ever found to date) which isn't greasy and is very hydrating. My skin loves it so much. I've just finished my first tube of this baby, and I've already stocked up on two more tubes.

I'm also in the beginning stages of using the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum, and so far there's been no negative changes to my skin. I haven't been using it properly enough to see whether it makes much of a difference to my sebum production. I'm almost out of the Hylamide Low Molecular HA Serum, but I figure that The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 serum would be a very close substitute and replacement. I've yet to start using that one, but it'll be a couple of more days before I get fed up with trying to suck up the last dregs of the Hylamide serum with the dropper.

I'm back to using the Natio Restore Cleansing Milk again and have even stocked up on enough bottles to last me another year. I mean... tell me that these bottles won't last me at least another year! Go on, I dare you. I've never found a cleansing lotion, cream or milk that performed better than this because most of the other brands (cough- Sukin - cough) makes me break out. This one isn't heavy or emollient, so it's easy to break it down with some water prior to rinsing my skin, and it doesn't dry my skin out or leave it feeling dirty still.

I haven't really picked up new products, except for a mascara and a few single eyeshadows to go into a magnetic palette that I've yet to buy. The mascara in question is theBalm's Mad Lash mascara, one that promises length and volume. The curved, toothy wand is the first one I've ever tried of its kind, and I cannot believe how much easier it is to apply mascara to my lashes. As some of you may already know, I'm always dealing with mascara smudging onto my brow bone because of the thrice damned curly lashes. This reduces that problem to a minimum and it takes very little time to apply.
I've rediscovered my love for using the RCMA foundation palette. I mean, I've always used it for my foundation whenever I had the time to put in the extra effort, but I love it even more now. Why? Because I've finally found a way to conceal my under-eye area perfectly with this, and also stop it from creasing like a mofo.

Which brings me to my next favourite cruelty-free product. I've mentioned this one a few times, but I don't think it has had enough attention. It's the Australis Ready Set Go Pressed Finishing Powder. It's better than their loose version and sets my makeup perfectly in place without leaving a white cast, or completely mattifying my face. It goes a long way in absorbing a lot of the oil on my skin, and a retouch guarantees perfection for the rest of the day provided that you blot. I assume this one would be very similar to the RCMA No-Colour powder, only that it is in a pressed form. This baby is what stops my concealer from creasing under my eyes.

I've been using the Pixi Bronzer in Summertime every now and then, where I would use the tiniest amount below my cheeks whenever I look and feel particularly puffy. It's not noticeable because the shimmer particles catch the light and make it blend into the rest of my face as a seamless canvas, but when you look at my face head-on (pun intended) it gives the impression that my face is thinner. I've gained some weight, okay?!

Since my previous edition, I've used theBalm's Balm Voyage palette a couple of times, opting for it because I couldn't be bothered gathering all the bits and pieces before work. Also, when I have a migraine, I really cannot be bothered putting in the effort trying to decide what my look will be like the following day. The first time I used the Voyage palette I wasn't too crazy about the quality of the shadows, but since then I've been able to work with it so that it doesn't get wasted. On the other hand, the highlighter, bronzer and the blushes are actually quite pigmented, though the bronzer is a bit difficult to blend. I've never used the lipsticks provided because they're not my shades.

Now that it's winter here, I'm trying to aim for the more deep tones such as plums, berries, and dark reds like Lime Crime Velvetine in Wicked. I've yet to try it out on my lips, as I haven't gone out much since I received it in the mail. I really liked the Rustic shade, and I thought it really suited me. However, I'm not sure why but I didn't get any compliments on it? Then again, it's 1 out of 20 times that I do get a compliment on my makeup. I'm not a pro, or even experienced in the art, but c'mon, I don't look like a clown, do I?

Well, except for that one time I thought pairing Makeup Geek's Jester with the aforementioned Rustic Velvetine was a great idea. It was not. Not a mistake I'll be making again anytime soon.

I recently picked up the Real Techniques Blush and Setting Brushes, so that I could have two of each in my kit. I found that the new ones aren't as dense as my old ones, and it turns out that the brand redesigned them, which makes me really sad in pants. They perform okay, but the blush brush isn't dense enough for me to properly blend out the blush on my cheeks. I'm really disappointed that they've changed things up because that means the quality has gone down with Real Techniques while the price remains the same.

I'm going to be very wise about what kind of brushes I buy next time because I do not want duds in my collection. I want brushes that perform amazingly, that last a long time and the quality is proportionate to the price.

I'm not sure if you guys have noticed, or thought that something seemed a bit different about my post today. I've taken these pictures with my new Canon 750D and it's taking me some time to get used to it, and frankly, I think I might just stick to manual setting, because the colours aren't the best when it comes to the Macro setting. It's also been a bit of a whirlwind on Photoshop because I've had to change my system in editing the photos so that the colours are accurate and the photos brighter. And I'm still not happy with it. So, I definitely need to get more experimenting done with both the camera and on Photoshop.

What products have you been using lately?


Plan With Me #1 ~ June

I am really on a planner kick lately, aren't I? In fact, I think there are more planner posts than there are for makeup, and that really is why I started this blog two years ago. That is largely due to the fact that I haven't been able to do a lot of work lately, and writing about planning comes quickly. It also doesn't take more than several minutes to take a few quick snaps of planner goodies, as opposed to taking photos of swatches or my own face.

However, I've knuckled down the last few days June to really amp up my content for July, and have as many posts ready to go live when they're meant to. In short, I'm tired of falling behind and so I'm kicking ass to get ahead.

My planner is really coming in handy for that reason, as I'm putting a lot of effort into keeping track of everything. I've created a few blogging inserts, as well as stickers to monitor a few things such as my skincare and supplement intake. Kudos to Stephii for trying to stay organised, aye?

The first week of the Happy Planner includes a large chunk of June, as each week begins on Monday and the first day of July doesn't happen until Saturday. So, I took the liberty of decorating said week, sticking to a unicorn theme, as a nod to my friendship with Cat, the one who made all this planning hoopla happen. I used all of the unicorn goodies that she sent me to decorate the spread, as well as a thin purple washi my sister bought for me in Japan. I also used both sticker books to organise my week.

I had to use the "Work hard and be nice" sticker to remind myself that even though it was the final week of the term and I now have two weeks of holiday from work, I still needed to work my ass off at the café. And be nice to a certain (difficult) co-worker. As it's the end of term for the students at the school that I work at, we had to clean the kitchen from top to bottom to prevent a pest infestation during the break.

The sticker books that Cat sent me didn't have any stickers to mark down my weight, so I downloaded a printable and printed them off at Officeworks. I also printed out a layout I created for Game of Thrones, a social media tracker, drink intake tracker, skincare tracker and a tracker to remind me to take my supplements. Some of which I downloaded, and the rest I created/modified to suit my needs.

After one week of actually using a planner properly, I've really noticed a few things. One was that I tended to slack off quite a bit throughout the week and I need to stop putting things off. Another thing was that I am really not good at keeping up with my drink intake, let alone being consistent with my skincare and my supplements. Having these scale stickers are actually a great way to motivate me into losing weight and not giving into my carb-loaded vices.

I'm sorely tempted to start decorating the other weeks in the planner, but at the same time, I want to do it slowly and take it one week at a time. I figure I'd get the most enjoyment out of that, incorporating any new material that I may pick up over time. In fact, I've just ordered some cutesy Harry Potter stickers and it is due to arrive next week. I'm excited because it means that I can decorate the July spread with a Slytherin theme (since I doubt I'll use the Slytherin washi often) and the final week for Harry's birthday.

I have one conundrum though. See, I want to buy all the unicorn activity stickers I find on Etsy but I can't justify the purchase of those when I would be making lots of different types of layouts that may not necessarily match the unicorns. I'm a very fussy person and would like for all of my stickers to match the theme I've chosen for the week. Nonetheless, these stickers are really cute and I want them so much! How does anyone work around this?! Help!

What stationery do you love buying? My weaknesses are washi tape and Frixion pens.


Opening the Latest Happy Mail from Kitty

I know I've been absent a lot lately, and it's not fun that I keep having to struggle to make time just to be able to work on here. However, I've been working on the blog the past couple of weeks, writing a few posts to get ahead, as well as planning what will go up over the next month. It's shocking that it's the end of June already!

I'm on holidays from work for the next two weeks as the school I work at is closed for winter break. I'm pretty excited about this as it means I have more time to myself, and to focus on finding out what is triggering my migraines, and what began it in the first place. I highly believe it's a result of severe B12 deficiency, aka pernicious anaemia, so I need to organise for a B12 injection as soon as possible. Possibly tomorrow.

Cat and I have finally settled on a name for our care package swaps! Last Tuesday, I brought Cat's parcel with me to work and sent it out as soon as I finished for the day. I intended for it to be sent out on Monday but I was having trouble figuring out how to finish the cover I made for her planner. Then, I had to go and get it printed and laminated at Officeworks.

Cat's box arrived last Friday, after being delayed for four days. Apparently, Australia Post wasn't prepared for the sudden and unexpected increase in international parcels at this time of the year. They likened it to be worse than at Christmas time, even more so because they were understaffed. The parcel almost didn't arrive on Friday, as it was nearing the very end of the business day and the sun had set. The poor delivery guy looked so frazzled!

The weight of this box is much like the first ever care package that Cat sent to me. I kept telling her not to buy more than the amount we decided on because these packages are expensive enough without having the hefty price tag associated with shipping it halfway across the world. But the damn woman loves to spoil me!

Australia is known for being completely slow with the latest trends in the US. It was many years before we even had our first Sephora in Sydney, and another couple of years for one to open in Melbourne. The planning trend is gaining traction here in Australia, but our hobby stores such as Lincraft and Spotlight are severely lacking in planning supplies. That said, Cat wanted to make sure I had everything I could possibly need to go with the Happy Planner that she also bought for me.

For our first friendiversary; the theme was paper, and since Cat recently got herself hooked onto planning, she wanted to get me hooked as well. I keep a small planner for day-to-day activities and reminders, as well as for the blog. So naturally, we settled on sending each other planner goodies as part of the paper theme. It is a stark contrast to the makeup-laden boxes that we've sent to each other before.

In fact, Cat sent me two lipsticks from Lime Crime, the matte Velvetines in Wicked and Rustic. I'm really excited about these as the formula from Lime Crime is one of my favourites, and Wicked is perfect for this chilly season. I've always wanted the Rustic shade, so I was pretty excited when Cat bought it for me. She surprised me with a Colourpop Creme Gel Eyeliner in Show Me, a metallic copper that I just know I'll use all the time, as copper is one of my favourite colours to use on my eyes.

She also included a copy of the Allure magazine as she wanted me to read a couple of articles that she bookmarked for me, as well as a box of pointy cotton tips and a sheet mask from Leaders Cosmetics. I flipped out over the little trinket dish because it had the letter 'S' on it and was trimmed in gold. Which, of course, is perfect for blog photography.

She gave me the MAMBI Modern Marble Classic Happy Planner, and I was really excited to start using them. I did my first layout already, complete with unicorns, and I'm working on next week's layout, centred around Spider-Man Homecoming. It's not yet finished, as I need to draw Spider-Man as well as some webs.

She gave me a bunch of stickers to use in my planner, and I can't wait to start using them. She also included a couple of sticker books from MAMBI as well, one of which is the watercolour set, and the other the 1829 piece set which contains all the basics. The last sticker set is a smaller, golden version of the 1829 piece set. There was a variety of sticky notes from Cat as well, one being of cute tropical flowers and plants in pots. A few of them were of retro establishments like a bakery, a diner and a boutique. Oh, and a set of cute sticky notes from MAMBI.

Other things that she sent along were the 9 hole punch for any inserts I may want to make for my planner, a set of expander rings, three pocket folders, a set of magnetic bookmarks and a stack of lists that you insert into the planner. There is a To Do list with a marble print, as well as a USB in the shape of a camera, which I'm going to use solely for the planner for when I need to print some stickers and inserts. And two sets of sheets for writing down notes and lists. I'm really fond of the covers that she included in the parcel as well, as on one side we have some retro stripes and on the other teal polka dots on a white background. Cat sent along some washi tapes, and I could not believe that she also included washi samples! As if 10+ tapes weren't enough, right?

We have an inside joke, which is that I'm the unicorn in the relationship, while she's the mermaid. It's why she decided to send a few unicorn goodies, and why I sent her a few mermaid sticker sets. The unicorn goodies that she sent was a set of sticky notes, stickers and some unicorn washi. Not only that, she also had her cousin make me a Harry Potter bag for my planner, and threw in a really cute pen of Harry.

Her cousin, Erica, made me a makeup bag with Eiffel Tower printed fabric. Pink may not be my colour, but I just love it, and the quality is amazing for something that was made by hand! It's my go-to makeup bag from now on as it's so roomy on the inside which fits all of my daily essentials. In it, she included a few stationery pieces. There were pineapple paperclips, as well as a small notepad with a pineapple print. Because, apparently, all Australians love pineapples, even as decor.

I ordered my new camera earlier this week, and it's due to arrive on Tuesday. I'm really excited because I'm getting fed up with how my current camera keeps corrupting my memory mid-shoot. Basically, it means I have to stop whatever I'm photographing, run to the computer, import everything and then reboot it. It's definitely a pain in the arse whenever it happens while I'm travelling and taking photos of my surroundings. The camera I'm replacing the piece of junk, the Olympus E-420, with is the Canon 750D. This should teach me not to buy shitty seconds from people without doing my research about said piece of junk.

I highly suggest that you guys stay tuned for my next post on Sunday, because I'm going to reveal the first layout I ever did on my planner. I was going to do a little preview of my planning collection but then I remembered that I had a few more things due to arrive next week. So, that'll have to wait. The one little drawer that I allocated for washi tape is now practically full, with room for about two or three more rolls. Crazy, hey? The sad thing is that I don't think I have enough! I'm trying to focus on stickers though, because I've got my heart set on some really cute ones, like the ones I mentioned in my wishlist earlier this month.

Do you have a friend in another state or country that you send mail to?


How To Make Your Own 3D Needle Felted Paperclips

I'm excited about this post because it's more complex than the tutorials that I've shared with my readers. One of my tutorials was on how to make your own tassel paperclips, and while that one is fun, it's really simple to make. I had another tutorial in which you could add a ribbon page marker to any book with a spine, which is also relatively simple and didn't require more than a few minutes and basic materials.

This one, however, takes some time and effort, and a lot of swearing as you stab yourself in the fingers. At least a hundred times in my case. I was lucky no one was at home or else they would be hearing expletives coming from my bedroom every minute or so. What can I say? I'm clumsy, even if I'm quite nimble with my fingers. I think impatience may have a lot to do with the multiple puncture wounds in my fingertips...

Harry Potter | Ravenclaw Inspired Makeup

It is no secret that I'm a huge fan of Harry Potter. What's not to love, though? You've got friendship, love, important life lessons, magic and a whole world that you can get lost in. I'm a Hufflepuff, through and through, and it is a very accurate sorting. I possess qualities from the other houses, but I'm also too loyal for my own good.

I'm going to do makeup inspired by each of the houses. I've seen lots of looks online, and while most of them are creative and fun, they don't quite represent the houses and their traits accurately. I wanted to save Hufflepuff for last, so I'm doing Ravenclaw first before making my way through the other houses.

How To Make Your Own Tassel Paperclips

Here's my second post for the week, and I think I'm actually getting things back on track. Sure, I only published two posts last week, but it was a bit full on then with work. This week, however, looks like it'll be a lot better. I'm trying quickly to make sure I can have this published tonight. I have work tomorrow, so I need to be in bed by 10. I went to the city today because a Japanese woman visited my work yesterday as she wanted to see what deaf schools were like in Australia. Being deaf herself, she's taught children Japanese sign language for a number of years.

She was interested in learning Auslan, and I was also interested in learning JSL. She was only in Melbourne for a few days before heading to Sydney, so I suggested that we meet today for lunch and coffee. It turned out to be a great idea, as we both learned a lot and it was fun. I took Misato to a Korean restaurant, as she wasn't interested in Japanese or Chinese cuisine, and then we went for macarons at La Belle Miette, before moving over to the cafe next door for some coffee.

I'm so surprised that I didn't stop by Daiso or someplace else to buy more stationery, considering how crazy I've been lately. For some of you that may not have read my previous post, I've been planner-obsessed and so my willpower is rather weak when I look at washi, stickers, and printables.

My Newest Obsession | My Planning Wishlist

So, here's the deal, my friend Cat and I had our first friendiversary earlier this year, and the theme for first anniversaries is paper. We thought we'd incorporate the theme into our next care package swap. That means we have to send each other something paper-based. She let on that she bought me the MAMBI Classic Happy Planner. I initially had no idea what it was, so I looked it up and that unleashed a monster. A hobby that incorporates scrapbooking elements and organisation?! How could I resist the temptation?

This is the stock photo of the planner she bought for me. Marble?! Rose Gold?! Oh, my...

The Mission To Improve My Skin #8

Life has been really busy lately, and I've completely neglected this blog in favour for more important matters, such as helping organise my nephew's first birthday party. I also made and decorated his cake, four dozen sugar cookies and as many cupcakes. It was themed after Giggle and Hoot, so I had to work with an orange and blue theme, which was super cute. I made Swiss meringue buttercream for the cake and cupcakes, and it produced the silkiest and lightest buttercream that I've ever tried. I used Buttery Nuttlex for the butter component because of Jasper, my nephew,  who is allergic to dairy. It tasted exactly like the real thing, if not better.

I had to take yesterday off from work because I woke up with a really sore back that made it so difficult to walk or sit. I was in so much pain that lasted through the night, and it's still really difficult to sit down for a long period of time. It's a lot more bearable than it was yesterday or the day before, so I should be able to power through at work tomorrow, hopefully.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

Homemade Instant Mi Goreng: Take Two

Okay, guys, I was a bit naive back then thinking that I'd come up with The Best Recipe to replicate the flavour of the classic lazy-day treat. In fact, I was basing the recipe off of the ingredients on an old packet that my then-housemate had in the back of his cupboard. I didn't taste test it, hence why I screwed up. I depended on my partner to tell me whether it tasted like the real thing, but he wasn't very helpful because he liked what I produced, even if it was different to what I was looking for. It resulted in a sweet, not-so-spicy, noodle, that, while delicious, was definitely not what the masses are wanting when they're trying to hunt down an MSG-free and/or vegetarian version. Especially a super cheap one that they can whip together in a mere few minutes.

I've actually been indulging in Indomie's or Supermi's Mi Goreng, though sometimes I also go for Aldi's dupe. The ingredients aren't exactly non-vegetarian, but I haven't gotten around to finding out whether the artificial flavour is from a vegetarian source, let alone the flavour enhancers. I want to remove the commercial ones out of my diet and make my own when the mood strikes because then I know exactly what ingredients are in there. It's also a lot cheaper to make my own from scratch than it is to buy it in sets of five.

A Sneak Peek Into My Makeup Capsule Wardrobe

I'm getting increasingly frustrated with how I've rarely got time to work on the blog. We're on week two of April, and including this one, I've only done three posts. It shouldn't be this difficult, it never was for me before, but I find my time being eaten up by so many things. For one, we're moving house again, so I've been packing and cleaning while Sean's working, as I'm on school holidays at the moment. I've one more week left so I'm going to do all that I can to really get on top of blogging. Otherwise, I'll lose my shit.

I've seen a few of these posts on the blogosphere, and I've been meaning to do one for months, but I never got around to do it. However, I've been wearing makeup more often now that I wear them every day that I work. I've figured out what I reach for the most, especially when in a pinch, and I've discovered my default products. Isn't that such an awkward way of putting things? Like "Oh, return to factory settings!" Just me?

I like the idea of a capsule wardrobe, but I think it isn't for me. I employ the capsule wardrobe method while travelling, making sure that all of my clothes go with each other, and that each article of clothing can be used in at least five outfits. At home, however, I prefer a minimal wardrobe where all or most of the pieces coordinate with each other and consists of staples that can be dressed up or down.

My Five Lip-Picks for the Fall Season

It's Autumn, but the weather can't seem to decide whether it wants to transition into fall or remain summer forever. In fact, we're in this awkward transitional stage where it's warm and sunny, mild but wet, or cold as fuck. The latter began on Thursday and I've been freezing my ass off since then. As I write this, I'm cuddled up in a blanket because it's still so chilly and I'm waiting for Sean to make me a cup of tea.

I love the cooler months much more than Summer because I get to wear knits, hide my three-day-old hair in a beanie, and keep cosy all season long. I also love the cooler months because deep shades are where it's at, and I love a bold lippie. I always look forward to autumnal shades because they're so much fun, and I think I pull off a plum better than a nude. When it comes to lipsticks in general, I like to choose from warmer colours, and I avoid blue-toned pinks and purples. That's why my picks are usually better reserved for the cooler months.

Cruelty-Free Products that I've Been Wearing Lately

Previously known as the "What's In My On-the-Go Makeup Bag?" edit on my blog, I decided to change this up a little, because I was getting bored of how repetitive the edits were getting. I kept using a lot of the same things over and over again. My base collection, after all, is pretty limited so I only change up the eyes, cheeks and lips. Another reason for this is because I've realised that I rarely ever touch on the cruelty-free side of my blog. In fact, I think my content is pretty vague and I don't go in depth about brands, ingredients and current issues.

That said, I'm going to take a more proactive approach with those things on the blog from this moment on. Never fear, though, I'm not going to shove information down your throats or preach my readers for using L'Oreal or MAC. If you like those brands, that's fine, it's not like I'm going to condemn you to hell for it. It is part of the reason that my friend Cat calls me a unicorn, because even though I'm a strict vegetarian, I don't give people shit for eating meat or wearing leather. Your business is your own, ma cherie.

The Mission to Improve My Skin #7

This newest edition to the Skincare Mission comes with a few downfalls, and I've mentioned them below. Frankly, this was one of the worst months I've had considering my skin, and I'm appalled. After the events of this month, I'm actually considering keeping a skin and food diary to see what needs changing. I'm just really disappointed because my skin is still breaking out and I don't know what exactly is causing it. I'm going to go back on my old edits and see if there have been any significant changes in my skincare routine in the past few months. I thought the Wet n Wild Tinted Moisturiser was the problem and I've replaced it, but acne persists. I don't necessarily get a pimple when I wear makeup, though, so it's something outside of me wearing it. Part of me wonders if it's the moisturiser that I've been using?

Too Faced Peanut Butter and Jelly Palette Review

I haven't done a review in a little while, and that bugs me somewhat. I was aiming to write and post a review every week, but these days I've not been posting as much as I used to. In fact, I think I'm actually down to two posts a week, instead of my usual three. I'd have everything written up and the photos taken, but life gets in the way, and I'm not able to edit the photos or have the posts up and running. I'd have my posts scheduled to go live on a designated day, but I never get to that point because I'm always interrupted, even on Fridays, which is meant to be my blog day.

It's very frustrating, and I'm trying to get things back in order so that I can get ahead and be more organised. I think the whole blog-in-one-day feels more like a chore than a hobby which is why I'm not getting a lot of motivation in writing. I decided to break down my tasks and spread them over a few days during the week because that is what I prefer, and I enjoy the process more. Contrary to what some people may think, I blog for the creative outlet it provides, not because it's a potential source of income.

What's In Naomi's Travel Makeup Bag?

I am both brimming with excitement and envy because my sister is going to Japan for three months on a quest for adventure. I'm a teeny bit frustrated because she's going away for so long and gets to enjoy all the food and culture, while I'm stuck down here in Down Under. We both love Japanese food to the point where it's almost comical, as it's basically our favourite cuisine. We always become so happy when we sink our teeth into sushi, teriyaki tofu or even udon noodles. So, I'm pretty excited that she gets to eat Japanese food every single day. I wish I could do that here - I'd be a very cheerful person. After all, the way to my heart is through my stomach.

I look forward to hearing about Naomi's trip when she comes back, and pictures of all the fun things she did and experienced. I know she will have such an amazing time, and I know she will learn lots of great things while she's there. She's flying out in just over 12 hours, and I'm going to see her off at the airport with Mum, and then I have to head to work on so little sleep. At least I'll only be doing 4 hours of work instead of my usual 8, so I won't be a zombie.

My On-The-Go Makeup Bag Edit #4

I actually had this post written up before, and somehow Blogger ended up publishing it before it was even close to being ready. I reverted the post back to a draft, but that deleted the entire contents of this post so I had to write it again. I'm not having a very good go of things the past week or two, especially when it comes to this blog. I'm not sure if anyone noticed, but the blog was down for several hours yesterday because I was having trouble trying to renew my domain for another year. I had Sean call them a few times to get things sorted, and when we were assured that it would be renewed within a few days and that the blog wouldn't be taken down, we breathed a sigh of relief.

Only to find it had disappeared a day or so later.

30 Thoughts I've Had Since Getting A Pixie Cut

Holy shit, it's my 200th post and I should have come up with something a bit more exciting to commemorate the event, but instead I came up with this. I've spent all day cleaning the house from top to bottom, because there should be a house inspection sometime this week, and since I'll be busy until Friday, I didn't want to leave it up to chance. As of 4:30 pm, my place is pretty f**king clean and I'm wrecked! Luckily I already had this written and organised, so I don't have to put a lot of effort into this post before uploading it. I'm sorry, but I'm pretty sure I've told you guys that I'm one of the laziest people on this planet.

How many of us have gotten a short haircut at some point in our lifetimes? I can count on one hand the number of times I had my hair cut shorter than my chin, and only one of them was one so short it was a boyish crop. This was in April last year.

Cult Products and Whether They're Worth The Hype

While looking at my makeup collection over the past week, I realised that I actually have a lot of products that are from the higher-end of the spectrum, and a lot of them have a cult following. Most of them were gifts from my dear friend, Cat, who keeps spoiling me whenever we send each other care packages. I've rarely bought anything for myself that costs too much to justify the purchase, so it's always a wonder when I open my drawer and I find Too Faced (from before they were bought out by Estée Lauder) among the Milani and the Wet 'n' Wilds. My breath catches in my chest whenever I spy my little Mary-Lou in the drawer, and I get a little too excited when I open up my Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette.

If you were to tell me two years ago, before I started wearing makeup again, that I would come to possess a few high-end brands, I would have scoffed in your face. Back then, I wasn't interested in more than a few basics from the cheapest cruelty-free brands possible, as I wasn't in the best place financially and I didn't think it mattered if I only owned a mascara and a red lipstick. I don't know how, and I don't know when, but somewhere along the line, I ended up unleashing a monster.

Barry M Showgirl Extra Lengthening Mascara Review

It is not a lie that I have tried many, many mascaras. I've tried a lot of drugstore brands, as well as one higher-end option, the Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara. My eyelashes are naturally curly, dense and lengthy enough to look fine on their own, but they're somewhat thin, which makes them appear shorter than they actually are. A good lashing of mascara opens my eyes up and makes me look alert and brings attention to them, which I am told is my best feature.

What I look for in a mascara are some length and some volume, but nothing heavy, clumpy or thick. I like something that individually coats each lash and separates them. This is why I pick mascaras with plastic/rubber bristles rather than a fibre spoolie. I also look for thinner formulas that don't coat my lashes too thickly, weigh them down or clump them together. I know, I'm rather specific when it comes to mascaras, and to date I have only found a couple that fit the bill, even if they're not Mr Right.

My On-The-Go Makeup Bag Edit #3

Here I am, writing the third edit to this makeup bag series, and I can't help but wonder if I should be calling it ' What's in My Makeup Bag?' instead. I've woken up earlier than is humanely acceptable or planned, once at 4 am, for work, so I've had time to do my makeup at home. I bring my mascara and lipstick of the day with me to apply on the way to work, but everything else was applied before I left.

4 Australian Brands I Really Love

I think I mention a lot of Australian brands on this blog, and it comes as a surprise to me every time I think about how many I support. I do try to support local businesses wherever I can, but I don't make it a huge part of my decisions when it comes to shopping. I love international brands just as much as the next makeup fanatic, but it's not always practical to get them when something gets in the way.

The exchange rate from USD to AUD, for one, is ridiculous these days, and as a result, I really limit my online spending unless there's a massive sale and the shipping rate is cheap. GBP to AUD isn't too bad, but it's still steep when you're trying to budget, and the postage from the UK usually costs a lot. Two, waiting for the mail to arrive is a bit of a pain in the arse, especially when tracking wasn't offered and you're paranoid that someone will steal the mail right from your doorstep. Thirdly, Australian drugstores and department stores do not stock all of the brands that I know and love, such as Milani, Wet 'n' Wild, Makeup Revolution (and their sister brands) and most of e.l.f., and so I need to look for alternatives. Especially when it comes to foundations and concealers.

This is where locally-owned brands come into the equation. They're easy to find, affordable and a lot of them are cruelty-free, which is a big plus in my books. Many of them are found at Priceline, my favourite drugstore, while some others can be sourced from Big W, Kmart, Myer and Target. I have some firm favourites and they're always the ones I look to on a regular basis when I need something quickly.

Freedom Makeup London Brow Pomade Review

Or, as I like to call it, The Bromade! Like, bro, do my brows! Lame? Probably. Do I care? No.

I added this bromade, in the shade Ash Brown, to my cart late last year for my birthday. I wanted something quick and easy to use to do my eyebrows, with a colour that matched them exactly. I had the Milani Easybrow Pencil, and the colour was a bit too red, whereas my brows are more grey aka cool-toned.

Just before I made my order on TAM Beauty, Makeup Revolution released their own line of brow pomades. However, there were barely any reviews or swatches on them, so I couldn't choose a colour. I went for Freedom, because it was somewhat cheaper, and I could find the swatches easily and figure out which one was my colour. I don't know if the ingredients are exactly the same because I couldn't find them listed under the Makeup Revolution ones.

The Mission to Improve My Skin #6

Welcome to this month's edition of The Mission to Improve My Skin. I know, I know, another one, but guys, looking for the perfect routine takes a lot of trial and error. I still haven't perfected it, but I'm well on my way there, and I think I'm almost at the end! Since my previous Mission update I've actually found products that works better for my skin, and I'm going to touch on that during this edit. I really like documenting the changes that my skin goes through on a monthly basis, so that I can keep track of them. I tried keeping a skincare diary but it lost my interest quickly, and I'd forget to write my routine in it for several days at a time.

At least this way, not only am I on track, but I am also inviting others to share their recommendations and/or suggestions. The beauty blogging community, for the most part, are super supportive, and someone always comes up with a great suggestion that I'm willing to try out.

My On-The-Go Makeup Bag Edit #2

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post on what was in my on-the-go makeup bag, and I thought it would be a great idea to turn it into a semi-regular series. Work is going great, it's so much better than my previous jobs, and I really like my coworkers. They all have interesting personalities, and some of them are just so nice and easy to work with. One of them, the manager, is straight to the point and direct, which I really appreciate because it makes it easier to establish trust in the workplace.

I work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and thus I worked on Valentine's Day. I had to bake a Red Velvet cake in the shape of a heart, topped with some marshmallow frosting. It was so weird baking for V-Day when I don't even participate in it at all - I find the holiday to be over-the-top and sappy. Sean and I are perfectly content with just pretending it doesn't exist, because romance should be every day, not just one day out of a year. It's just the way we are, and we don't even put a lot of effort into our anniversaries. It's not like we have the financial security to splurge on a gift for the significant other every few months so we make Christmases and birthdays super special.