18 September, 2014

Don't Think. Just Write.

As a kid I always liked the idea of having a diary or a journal; a place to write your thoughts, wishes, dreams, and occasionally a place to release all your anger. The thing was, I was under the idea that keeping a diary meant having to write in it every single day and this made me feel bored with it so easily. This was a cycle that went on for years and years and it annoyed me a little because I knew that writing things down was a good thing.

In my last year of high school, I found myself feeling severely anxious and uneasy most days of the week. At school, I wasn't quite in the mood to socialise with others at lunch and I spent most of the final months of Year 12 sitting in the study room studying (I didn't think this helped very much). I felt very confused because I had never felt this level of anxiety before. I took solace in keeping myself busy with chemistry study or English study.

For my 17th birthday, I chose the leather-bound notebooks you see above as part of my birthday present. They're from Kikki.K and made from recycled soft leather. I also chose a fountain pen to go with it. I started using the first notebook as a place to write down stories that I wrote, but it quickly changed to a place I wrote every bad thought or feeling I had down. Whenever I felt uneasy, anxious, upset, confused, or anything like that I turned to my little brown book and poured my thoughts out. Every entry is a stream of consciousness; I don't have a structure to any of my entries. Some entries read like I am speaking to someone in particular, others read like I'm speaking to myself, but they're mostly written in whichever way allows me to gain a better understanding of how I'm feeling.

All of that being said, I developed a few 'unspoken rules'. One of them is You don't have to finish an entry. There are some entries only half a page long and they are unfinished. Sometimes I run out of things to say or I lose my train of thought, or I just did not want to write anymore, or I simply didn't need to write anymore because things became clearer to me. My second rule is Don't read previous entries. This one is a bit of a funny one that I didn't even consciously decide on. After a few months of writing, I found that I was making an effort not to flick back through the previous entries and read what I was thinking in certain situations and I just carried it on to present day. I believe that this is because I want to lock all of those bad feelings away and I just don't need them anymore; the book has done its job.

Three years later, and this book is serving me well (I am almost finished with the first book, and I have the second one ready for whenever I need it). I have had periods where I wrote in it every night and periods where I return to it three months later. Whatever the case, I know that if I am in need of clarity, I can always turn to this book and write and write and write.

Do you keep a journal? If so, do you find that it has helped you in your life?

16 September, 2014

Box O' Empties #1

Hello, everyone! I have returned from my week of horrid quizzes and presentations, and I have an 'empties' post for you all to enjoy. My mom is always commenting on the fact that I keep purchasing new products and never actually using them all up. Mom, I know you're reading this so here's proof that I do finish products up!

First up is the Body Shop Olive Body Butter. For years I struggled with having dry, itchy legs and always attributed it to sensitive/reactive skin. I tried body moisturisers from Aveeno, St. Ives, and Cetaphil but none of them compares to how amazing the Olive body butter is. The body butter is aimed towards dry skin and has a slight 'plant-y' scent, which I personally love. I found that it was extremely moisturising and I could feel that my skin was still well moisturised by bedtime, and most importantly it was not greasy at all. This was my first Body Shop body butter, and since then I've purchased the Vitamin E and Raspberry Harvest ones.

The empty container with the pink lid used to be the Soap and Glory Breakfast Scrub. I got this while I was on holiday in Singapore earlier this year and it is probably the best body scrub I have ever used. The scent is heavenly (smells like real maple syrup) and the texture is perfect; when you apply it to wet skin it doesn't just slip off as you use it, but rather stays on for spectacular scrubbing power. It's a sugar based scrub, which I found to be perfect for sloughing off dead skin and rough patches before shaving my legs. Definitely need to repurchase this!

I'm not going to harp on about the Nivea Stress Protect Roll On Anti-Perspirant Deodorant, but I will say that it's a good deodorant to use. I find that it doesn't leave marks on clothes and it does its job well. Some may find it a bit drying, I sometimes do, but overall it's comfortable to wear. I've already repurchased this one.

The Sanctuary Spa Exfoliating Pore Refiner sits on my shower caddy and is used almost everyday when I shower in the mornings. I find that this helps to regulate oil production and the mild exfoliating properties keeps my skin feeling refreshed and prepped. I have since gone out to get another tube.

My mom gave me her Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum as she found that it stung her eye area when she used it in conjunction with something she used for pigmentation issues, and I was more than happy to take it off her hands! After using it for about two weeks underneath my normal eye cream, I found that my eye area looked refreshed and slightly brighter. I would repurchase, but honestly it's a bit too expensive for me…

The Antipodes Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream mini tube came in the Anti-Ageing limited edition minis set that they sell (sold?) at Priceline Pharmacies. I gave the mini bottle of the Joyous serum to my mom. This tube lasted for a surprising 2-3 months as you don't need much at all. Looking past the horrid smell (seriously, it smells so funky), it's a rich, slightly greasy night cream which worked well in the winter months. It kept my face moisturised overnight and I woke up looking a bit more refreshed. I won't be repurchasing this product.

Finally, the Philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleanser. This 'one-step facial cleanser' is gentle, non-stripping, and extremely efficient at removing any traces of makeup/cleansing oil or balm/makeup remover. I use this after my Boscia Make-Up Break Up Cool Cleansing Oil and I find that the combo effectively removes my makeup. I have very sensitive skin on my face, and this is a perfect marriage of all my cleanser needs (gentle, effective, non-drying…). You don't need much of this product, which is why this little bottle lasted me 4-5 months. I have repurchased another small bottle and it is now my go-to cleanser!

So, there you have it! I honestly cannot recommend the Soap and Glory scrub and the Philosophy cleanser enough; they are such standout products for me. Do you have any standout products that you have repurchased time and time again? Let me know!

03 September, 2014

Brush Up

Is there anything more satisfying to a beauty lover than purchasing a new makeup brush? I don't think so! Makeup brushes are essential for creating the 'perfect look'; they help achieve precision and that airbrushed finish we all long for.

I started my collection with the Real Techniques brushes which I had heard so much about. Everyone was raving about them and rightly so! First of all, the sets are perfect for anyone starting out or anyone looking to complete, or add to, their arsenal. The permanent sets include the Core Collection (a set of four face brushes), the Travel Essentials (two face brushes and one eye brush), and the Starter Set (4 eye brushes and one brow brush). In Australia, these sets retail for a ridiculous price so I purchased mine from Amazon. For reference, the Core Collection is sold at Priceline Pharmacies for AUD$44.99, but on Amazon they are currently selling for about AUD$16. I must mention, I purchased my Stippling Brush separately.

I find that the Real Techniques brushes wash well and maintain their shape. I love using the Buffing Brush to apply powder foundation, the Stippling Brush for applying my Tarte Amazonian Clay blushes, and the Multi-Task Brush for just about anything (blush, bronzer, setting powder, finishing powder). I only have two issues with these brushes; one is that I found that my Multi-Task Brush got a bit scratchy after being washed a few times (nothing too major) and the other is that the Stippling Brush bristles 'clumped' together. These haven't deterred me from the brand at all! In fact, I just put in an order for the Duo Fibre Collection… stay tuned for a review!

When I got my Zoeva Rose Golden Luxury Set, a lot of my Real Techniques brushes went to my mom. How could I resist this beauty?! I spent about AUD$80 on the set of eight (including shipping) and I do not regret it at all. The brushes are sturdy and well-made. The set comes with four face brushes, of which one is natural bristled and four eye brushes, of which two are natural bristled. I love and use every single one of the brushes, although I find that the 106 Powder brush is a bit awkward to use and although I force myself to pick it up once in a while, I still would much rather use my Multi-Task brush.

Finally, my three odd brushes. The first one is the Urban Decay Optical Blurring Brush. I picked this one up in Singapore in hopes of finding a foundation brush that would buff my foundation seamlessly and easily. I quite like this brush, however I find that it soaks up a lot of product. I tend to go for the Zoeva 102 Silk Finish brush instead. The second is the Benefit Hard Angle Brush which I got from my mom. We did a makeup swap a while ago and this was one of the things that I got. I like using this brush to fill in my brows as it provides a bit more precision than the Real Techniques one. Finally, my MAC 217; everyone raves about this brush and there are high claims of it being their absolute favourite eye brush and I just had to see for myself! I absolutely agree with those claims - this brush is a 'do it all' wonder!

There we go! Quite a long post, but now you are all well acquainted with my tools. Do you have a favourite brush set (or even just a favourite brush)?

Just letting you all know that next week I will not be posting anything due to high volumes of uni assessments. I will be back in a fortnight! 

28 August, 2014

Sick Days

I'm a person who gets sick a lot. At least once a semester I'm down and out for almost two weeks with some sort of flu and let me tell you, that is something you cannot afford to have happen to you in engineering. I got sick Tuesday night and felt the full force of it all yesterday and today. Being a university student, staying home isn't something you can really do unless you have a day off or your day consists of lectures (and they're recorded). I had to trek to the city today for a long day at uni and I was dreading it. I decided to put together a little 'tip' post to help you get through your sick days…

#1 Have a little 'emergency' pack in your bag
My little emergency pack consists of some throat soothers, a pack of tissues, antibacterial wipes, and hand sanitizer. I also included my tube of Lanolips' 101 Ointment, which I use for my lips and for my poor nose. It really helps to soothe the dryness from keeping a tissue glued to your nose for the whole day. The antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer are good to have just to keep yourself from picking up more germs and possibly getting even more sick. Also helps when you're feeling a bit sick in the tummy and have to go throw up and clean yourself up (It happens).

#2 Put on a brave face
Usually being sick comes with red eyes, a sallow complexion, and the overall aura of not wanting to be out, but sometimes you just have to put on your brave face and get out there to do what you have to do. I picked out some brightening products which are easy to apply. The NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer (I have the shade Vanilla) is perfect for making you look a little more awake than you really are. I also included the Benefit Gimme Brow because I always think that doing your brows up a bit can really make you look put together.

#3 Take some meds! 
Find a flu medicine which works best for you and stick to it; I personally prefer taking Codral as it has been the most effective for me. If you are taking paracetamol, I'm going to share something with you that I learned today: don't take too much of it if you're not used to it. I took paracetamol yesterday (2 tablets about 3 times in a day) and it upset my stomach so much. Everything went really acidic and you end up feeling absolutely horrendous. If you're not sure of how you're going to respond to the medicine you're taking, take 1 tablet first and go from there.

#4 Bundle up
If you get sick in winter, the most important thing is to keep warm. Keep your chest, hands, and feet warm and try to stay out of the wind. Sydney Uni isn't very sheltered, so walking from class to class we have to brave the wind or the rain (or both) and when you're sick it can make you feel a whole lot worse, so bring a warm scarf, a thick jacket, and put on some wooly socks.

#5 Go get your rest 
Being sick means that you might not be as productive as you would want (or have to be), but don't force yourself. You end up feeling much worse and there's a good chance that you'll be a little bit dazed and unable to understand what's going on in the first place. Take little power naps or just lay in bed a little when you get home and set aside time after dinner for when you need to do your work.

So, those are my 5 tips for how to cope when you're down with some sort of sickness. How do you deal with being sick?

26 August, 2014

Step Into My… Vanity?

Okay, so here's that big post I promised last week! I thought it was time to show you all my vanity table, as well as how I store and organise my makeup bits and bobs. I redid my room over a month ago and one thing that I really wanted was to have a vanity table where I can sit down and actually get ready instead of standing up in front of my bathroom mirror with barely any space to lay my products out. I have the Borgsjƶ table,  Nils stool, and Myken mirror which are all from IKEA. I chose the table because of the slight woodgrain finish and the bluey-white shade which matches my room perfectly. I wanted something that was dainty and cute, while still being highly functional. 

On top of my table I keep 3 little jars which holds cotton buds and cotton pads, my makeup brush holder, my jumbo mug of lip products, whatever nail polish I'm wearing currently, a facial mist, and my current fragrance (Body Shop's Vineyard Peach Body Mist). 

My mom and I went out looking for cute storage containers so I could better organise my table. We found two wicker baskets (which store face products and eye products) at Howard's Storage, the three little jars and tea container at The Reject Shop, and my jumbo mug at Officeworks. I spent a total of $50, including the tape I used to decorate the little jars. It was a bit more than what I was willing to spend, but it was definitely worth it in the end!

You might all be wondering why my lip products are in a mug. They're in there for two reasons; first of all, I don't have that many and secondly, I'm trying to get into using lip products more often. I usually just stick to my Lanolips Lemon Aid lip balm, but now I'm trying to use the lipsticks and glosses that I have. 

As you can see, there are three compartments in my table. The top one houses the two wicker baskets for face and eye products; the second shelf houses my jewellery and a little container of 'clean up' stuff (i.e. makeup wipes, a bottle of Bioderma, a makeup brush cleaner, and hand sanitizer); and the bottom shelf is where I put my current handbag that I'm using, my sunnies, and my candles. 

Side note, I don't use makeup wipes to remove my makeup! I use the wipes to remove any makeup that gets on my hands, especially since I use my fingers to apply my NARS Sheer Glow foundation and pat in my under-eye concealer with my ring finger. 

I apologise for the GIFs being so quick; Photoshop has a bug which does not allow me to change the frame delay. Overall, I'm quite happy with how my my vanity turned out and it's definitely my favourite part of my bedroom!

How do you organise and store your makeup? Let me know down below!