Saturday, August 15, 2015

Winter Beauty Favourites

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I'm half way through the last month of winter and I can't see myself deciding on any more beauty favourites before September so I thought I would just share these with you now. I'm not a big fan of winter and I felt like some of these favourites made the season a little more bearable and lightened my mood a bit. Even though some of these beauty favourites are very winter oriented, some aren't specific to any season and I hope there's something useful or interesting in this Favourites post for you regardless of where you live or what season you live in. 

I spent most of my spare time on the couch during winter. I have been watching TV, online shopping, drinking copious amounts of hot chocolate and hanging out with pets. I haven't really accomplished anything else. I can't believe it's nearly September and my end-of-year goals are looking a little neglected. I have also managed to get a bit of a sniffle, not really a cold, just the effects of cold weather and allergies. Things flower here in winter. I live in North Queensland, so it doesn't get any where near as cold as a lot of other places during winter. I have never seen snow or frost, and I consider anything under 20 degrees celsius to be too cold. 

I didn't really do anything too exciting over the course of winter. I went to the Superboats again, I discovered a new make-up brand I liked. I honestly can't think of much else. I watched a lot of Youtube. I had pajama days... It would be an understatement to say that I'm looking forward to warmer weather...

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SKINCARE:

  • My skin has been disgusting this winter. My hands cracked open a few times regardless of how much cream I put on them and my acne reached a whole new level. So I'm not sure if there is too much I can really recommend here. I don't know if it was so much the products I was using, as it was the change in whether, unhealthy habbits (eating/sleeping/water drinking) and stress that affected my skin. My face seemed to completely change and while I had a lot of blemishes, my skin was 100 times more sensitive and I had dry patches starting. Products that worked previously for me were too harsh, so I had to go buy gentler stuff which didn't seem to do much about the blemishes. 
  • One thing that I noticed worked for me was the TheBodyShop Elderflower Cooling Eye Gel which didn't affect my sensitive skin and worked wonders around the nose and on other dry partches. A trick I learned from a Make-up Video  by Shaaanxo on Youtube. 
  • I ended up re-purchasing the Garnier BB Cream Sensitive in Light/Clair which is still one of my favourites after trying so many. I have noticed it's a little bit on the pink side though, which is a shame considering my skin naturally quite sallow. 


MAKE-UP:
  • I have really been enjoying using the Models Prefer Argan Concealer in 'Light' for underneath my eyes. It is so creamy and brightening. 
  • I got a Benefit They're Real Mascara sample with a magazine and I think it's pretty good. I don't think I will ever by the full size though. The price is a bit too high for my wallet. 
  • I rediscovered the Besame Violet Powder which I have used to set my face a few times this month. The only downfall is that I think this actually makes my under eye area look ashy, so I have to use something else to set my under-eye concealer. I really want to try the Vanilla version, because even though it's recommended for 'Light-Medium' skin (and my skin is Light), it seems like it would be better for me because I've got yellow undertones. 
  • When my lips haven't been super dry and gross I have really enjoyed wearing the Besame Lipsticks. I think I wore the two shades 'American Beauty' and 'Red Hot Red' the most, but I did wear all of the shades at some stage. 'Red Hot Red' is probably my absolute current favourite. It's so vibrant and flattering.
  • I discovered Colourpop Highlighters this winter and I bought quite a few of them. My absolute favourites at the moment are 'Hippo', 'Teasecake' and 'Wisp'. I have another Colourpop order coming in the mail soon and I hope to do a post about all of them with mini-reviews and swatches. 
  • I have been using a lot of single eyeshadows lately. The ones that get the most use are Milani Bella Eyes Gel Powder Eye Shadow in 'Bella Ivory' (I use this for my brow-bone), 'Bella Cafe' (Transition shade) and 'Bella Taupe' (Crease Shade). I also really like the Essence I heart baked nude shadow in '05 My Favourite Tauping' as a transition shade. I have been using Colourpop Supershock Eyeshadows in 'Play' (My absolute favourite shade, which I use for lid or crease colour), 'High Tide' (Inner corner shade) and  'Bill' (A Mauve-y Mid-tone Brown which looks absolutely stunning with 'Plunge' worn over the top. My favourite combo). Finally, the Chichi Baked Eyeshadow in 'Living on a Prayer' is a great dark taupe for the crease. 
  • I also have some brushes favourites to share. I recently bought the Ecotools 6 Piece Essential Eye Brush Set and I am obsessed with the two larger brushes, which work great for blending the Colourpop shadows (though a finger is your best tool if you want good colour payoff). I really enjoy the Crush Cosmetics Precision Angled Brush for highlighting, setting my under eye area and for detailed contouring if I feel like it. The Crush cosmetics 217 brush is great for using darker colours in the crease. I also recently discovered the ChiChi Make-up Blending Sponge which is supposed to be a dupe for the Beauty Blender (which I have not tried. I like how affordable these sponges are. I don't really like it for foundation, but it's good for blending out concealer over blemishes. 

HAIR:
  • I still haven't really found a shampoo that I really like and I'm waiting for one I ordered from Avon. I have mostly been using the Organix Coconut Water Shampoo & Conditioner. Which can feel a little bit "heavy" sometimes. I think it would suit someone with long frizzy hair better than someone with short hair. 
  • I really like the TheBodyShop Brazil Nut Define & No Frizz which I put on damp hair before I comb and style it. I also use a little bit of the Toni&Guy Creative Stick it Up Gum sometimes to mess it up if I feel like it. I use these with some other products that I have mentioned in previous favourites posts.

FASHION/STYLE:
  • Unfortunately I entered winter with the misconception that all my winter clothes still fit me and they didn't. I was so grateful that my Target Hot Options Cord Jeggings still did because I love them. 
  • I am obsessed with a peach coloured Mix Apparel Cardigan I got. It's a bit thicker than my other cardigans and I think it looks so cute. I have it in other colours, but the peach one got the most wear. 


MUSIC:

This is a pretty random combination of songs that I have been enjoying. I bought a lot of them of itunes. 

  • 'Higher' by Creed
  •  'I'm Not in Love' by Fun Lovin' Criminals (Cover of 10cc)
  •  'The Other Side of Love' Jack Savoretti
  •  'Another Way to Die' Jack White and Alicia Keys
  •  'Unchained (The Payback/Untouchable) by James Brown and 2Pac
  •  '2 Hearts' Kylie Minogue
  •  'We Can't Be Friends' Lorene Scarfia
  •  'Run On' Moby
  •  'Temptation' by New Order
  •  'Blue Orchid' The White Stripes
  •  'Love Never Felt So Good' Michael Jackson (Demo Version)
  •  'Cinema' Benny Benassi
  •  'She' She and Him (Cover of Charles Aznavour)


OTHER:
  • I have been watching a lot of TV lately. So You Think You Can Dance (America) is on at the moment and I am obsessed with it. Especially the Stage Routines. I am a Team Stage girl, though I must admit JaJa is pretty damn cool too. I also recently started watching The Mysteries of Laura which features Debra Messing. Unfortunately the Australian TV channels are messing the times up on me. Do you here me TV channel people? Please don't do this to your viewers. Also if you live in America, please don't share spoilers with me. Aussie TV is always behind. I've also been indulging in a bit of The Voice AU and I've been re-watching Gilmore Girls on DVD. 
  • I have really been enjoying watching Youtube. At the Moment my Favourites are LipglossLeslie, Post Modern Duke Box (especially when Sarah Reich is Tap dancing), Pixiwoo, KathleenLights, and VintageorTacky. Most of these are beauty gurus, except for the Post Modern Duke Box which does old school covers of modern-ish tunes. 
  • Tomato tart. It's simple to make and it tastes good, and I've lost track of how many times I have made it over the winter. It's just a sheet of puff pastry with garlic butter, sliced tomato and grated cheese. One sheet is a "snack" for three people. Half a sheet is a meal for one. I'm also obsessed with ABE'S Bagel Bites in 'Pizza' flavour. YUM!


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I hope you are all enjoying (or at least tolerating) your Winter (or Summer) weather. What are your favourite things at the moment?

Your Favourite Blogger,
Natalie

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Outfit Post and Update: A Rock 'n' Roll Weekend, Tap Class and a Haircut

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A neighboring town recently had their pin-up competition and car show which reminded me that I never got around to writing a blog post for the Rock 'n' Roll weekend I attended back in May. I also decided to include  a photo of my new tap shoes and haircut, which I haven't managed to show you all yet. The shoes and the hair aren't too exciting, but I think it's worth a mention. 

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On the Saturday night I went to a dinner dance at our local PCYC. There was a Rock 'n' Roll band, a roast dinner and a photographer. I wore a dress that was probably more 1930s than 1950s, but I figured it was vintage appropriate and that was good enough for me. I really like the style of skirt for dancing in and while I don't think I danced that much during the night I did manage to get photographed on the dance floor by our local newspaper photographer.

While I don't take dance Rock 'n' Roll dance classes anymore, I still really enjoy that style of dance and highly recommend it if you are into vintage. There are a couple of variations and I'm not one hundred percent sure on their technical names. The style I like the most is referred to as a "Two Step".

^The dress. These photos aren't the greatest and yes I did filter them. So what? I did plan to wear these shoes again for the pin-up comp, but my feet were a little sore from dancing the next day. 



^With the cardigan on. The crochet collar is super cute.

^My nails for the weekend. A french manicure would have probably been more accurate, but I'm a nail stamping addict, so I went with one of the simpler designs. For details on what I'm used visit my  Manicures 2015 Album on Facebook.

^My Trusty Grosby dancing shoes. I wish they came in more colours. I also wore those earrings, had an umbrella/girl pin on my dress, used that purse and wore Besame Cosmetics Lipstick in 'Merlot'.

Overall, I had a really fun night. I think most of the fun definitely started later on when the majority of the crowd left. The band played a few favourites from other eras then (like the 40s, the eighties, etc). I honestly think any kind of dinner dance is heaps of fun and I wish there were more cool events like this to go to during the rest of the year. 

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The next day we had the pin up competition. We had to walk down a cat walk and do a few poses for the camera and the crowd, while someone read out a short Biography we'd written. There was also a car show going on around us. I didn't place in this competition, but I didn't really expect to and I still had fun which is what it's all about. 


^My poses got a little more sophisticated as the weekend progressed. I'm wearing all vintage appropriate clothing. Nothing is actually vintage or by a Repro brand.


^I was trying to channel an "Effortlessly Graceful" vibe with this outfit. It's not what you'd typically expect when you think of "Pin-up" or Rockabilly, but I think these clothes are timeless and they suit my figure. 

^These are the accessories. You can't see the heart seam stockings in my photos. The Round sunnies with the silver tops are the sunglasses I wore for the event. I was given the cat eye ones as a participation prize. Unfortunately those ones are a bit big for my little head, but they do look pretty in my sunglasses case. 


^Some of my outfit inspiration for the weekend. 

Overall, I had a really good time that weekend and I definitely look forward to May next year. I don't know that I will enter the Pin-up contest again next year, but I will definitely be going along to the Dinner dance and car show anyway. Any excuse to dress up and dance to some good music!

I also got my hair cut a little shorter and choppier in style. I had a weigh line before and was getting sick of how thick and unmanageable my hair was. Now I can do a little bit more with it. It's more "modern" looking, but it's a little easier to style in the mornings, so that is okay with me. I am sorry if you can't really see much with my sunglasses in the way.



These are the tap shoes people requested to see. They are not too exciting. These are the kinds of tap shoes I have always worn. I had to get a size too big because of my weird shaped feet, but if I wear fluffy socks with them they fit perfectly. A bit annoying, but as far as I can remember with tap shoes it's always been that way. My tap teacher is really big on the "Bootmen" style of dancing, which I don't mind, but I will always still think of Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Gene Kelly as the masters of this style. 

I have also been trying to choreograph something else either Jazz or contemporary, but I just can't pick a song. Any recommendations are welcome :)

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend.

Your Favourite Blogger,
Natalie

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Beauty Review: Wet N Wild Megalast Lip Colour

I originally bought a Wet N Wild lipstick because I liked the vampy colour. I wasn't overly pleased, however after watching some of my favourite beauty YouTubers talk about how good they were I decided to buy two more to try because sometimes different colours have different results. The verdict? I'm really glad I gave these a second chance.

WHAT THE COMPANY SAYS:
Lips take center stage! This 4-hour, longwearing lip color leaves a semi-matte, crème finish in one stroke. Glides on easily with rich, velvety color that doesn't cake, feather, or bleed. Made with hydrating skin-care ingredients: Hyaluronic Microspheres provide extraordinary adhesion to lips, an exclusive polymer complex offers cushion-like feel and texture, and natural marine plant extracts Coenzyme Q10 and Vitamins A & E help smooth lips.

AFFORDABILITY:
I bought these from Crush Cosmetics. They are listed as $5 ea. though I think I may have gotten some of these on a sale, so they were possibly cheaper again. I think that it's probably the cheapest price I have seen a lipstick. It's definitely makes trying them a little less daunting.

PACKAGING:
I am not a huge fan of the packaging. I think that it's cheap looking, but then I guess that's just what you have to expect when it only costs $5. I think my least favourite thing about the packaging is that the lipstick doesn't wind all the way down, so the lid gets little bits of lipstick on it, unless you are super careful. Because it has a sheer lid it is easy to find the colour you want when you are looking through your make-up collection.

^That is as far as it winds down.

THE FORMULA:
The lipstick is semi-matte and can be drying on the lips. I have found that applying lip balm a while before applying the lipstick prevents lips from becoming dry. The lipstick actually seals the lip balm in and makes it last longer. 

APPLICATION:
This is one of those matte lipsticks that can be a little tricky to apply. It is quite dry, so it takes a few swipes to get the colour pay off and it can appear a little patchy. This lipstick can look a bit rough around the edges so I highly recommend using a lip liner or diffusing the harsh lip-line with a cotton tip. It definitely goes on a lot smoother with a balm underneath and there isn't a real need to blot this one as it doesn't budge (much).

^The lipstick has a sticker on the bottom in a similar colour to the lipstick.


COLOUR SELECTION:
I'm not sure how many colours there are in this range, but Crush Cosmetics sells 26. I think that's a lot. I got the colours 'Ravin Rasin' 'Spiked With Rum' and 'Vamp it Up'. I 'Vamp it Up' is my least favourite as it is definitely harder to apply and needs to be touched up more often. My favourite colour is 'Spiked with Rum' and I think if you are going to try a colour I would highly recommend that one. I have been wearing 'Spiked with Rum' quite a bit recently because I think it's flattering and the mid-tone muted redd-brown shade really suits my style at the moment. 

^From Top to Bottom: 'Spiked with Rum', 'Ravin Raisin' and 'Vamp it Up'


STAYING POWER:
The staying power on these is really impressive. If I eat something a little bit tends to come of in the centre of your lips, but not much more (unless it's greasy or super hot food). I haven't noticed it bleeding or feathering (except when I eat greasy food). Even wearing lip balm underneath I notice this lipstick stays a long time. Wet n Wild says the lipstick lasts 4 hours. I think it lasts longer, it just depends what you're eating. 

^This was my arm after I wiped off the lipstick with a make-up wipe. I washed it with soap later and the stains still wouldn't come off.

THE VERDICT:
I really like these lipsticks now and I'm glad I gave them a second chance. With a few application tricks (using a cotton tip to smooth out the lip-line and wearing a good lip balm underneath) these lip colours can be amazing. I think for the price they are really good quality and I really like the colour selection. I'm definitely interested in trying out some more shades! I recommend these to anyone who is after a long lasting lippy at a decent price, however, I suggest using those application tricks as they make a huge difference.

Have you tried one of these lipsticks? What do you think about them?

Your Favourite Blogger,
Natalie

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Book Review: Grounding Quinn by Steph Campbell

THE DETAILS:
Pages: 254
Genre: Teenage Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: Kindle
Release Date: 12/06/11
I bought this book with my own money.

THE DESCRIPTION:
Eighteen-year-old Quinn MacPherson's biggest fear has always been turning out like her mentally unstable mother. (Solving algebraic equations comes in as a close second.) 

That is, until she meets Benjamin Shaw. 

Quinn thinks hooking up with Ben over summer vacation will be nothing more than a quick fling. She can’t even commit to a nail polish choice, much less some guy. 
Unfortunately for her, Ben is not just some guy. Ben gets her- the real her, flaws and all- and that scares the hell out of her. 

When Ben does the unthinkable- tells Quinn he’s in love with her- she does what comes naturally. She pushes him away. Ben can only watch from a distance as Quinn lashes out, and punishes him for daring to care about her. 

But how far can you push someone, even someone that loves you, before they are gone for good?

MY REVIEW:
I bought this book thinking it was a different book that I had seen a good review on. I was buying a bunch of cheap kindle books and I saw this and thought "oh, that's that book I saw on that blog". Apparently it wasn't. The cover is kind of similar, with dark green grass, a girl wearing boots and some flowers, but apparently the book I was after is about a girl named Viola, and not Quinn. I realised this after I started the book and thought since I had already bought it and started reading, that I should give 'Grounding Quinn' the benefit of the doubt and keep on reading. Did I enjoy the novel though? I'm not really sure...

I didn't hate the novel, but I didn't love it either. It took me a while to read it. I read through the first half in one night and slowly read through the rest for weeks and weeks later. The only reason I even finished it is because I felt like I had wasted so much time reading it that I should just keep going. I eventually ended up reading it and then waited at least a month (it has possibly been longer) to write this review, because I didn't really have that much to say.

I think the story was okay. It didn't seem overly original and it reminded me a little of that movie 'Crazy Beautiful'. The main character was a bit messed up and blames it on her parents who are also messed up. There is a bit of drug use (as in wrongfully medicating rather than recreational) and I thought that seemed unrealistic. She was just taking all of these pills out of her mothers medication cabinet and taking them at random and she didn't even know what they were. She's a teenager she can read, if she wants sleeping pills or mood stabilizers, can't she find out which is which? And then, spoiler alert she accidentally overdoses on the random cocktail of pills and has to convince people that she's not suicidal...

I didn't really like the guy in the story. I felt like I should because the main character likes him, but the whole set up was just too unrealistic from the start and he had some really annoying qualities. He was one of those characters that tries to please everyone and then realises he doesn't have to please anyone but himself. He then does a back flip and compromises his morals to make someone else happy in the end. Not a great message to be sending to any young impressionable readers. Also, he calls Quinn "Babe" and "Baby" a lot. It's okay in small doses, but it just seemed too cheesy and a little cheap when it's in every conversation...

I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the book at all. I did find Quinn to be quite funny at times and I did read through the first half of the novel quite quickly. I really wanted the characters to be happy, but I also just wanted the book to be over already so I could read something else...

Overall, I think this book is worth 2.5/5 stars. I didn't love it. I didn't hate it. I think the books is suited more to older teens because of some of the content. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone I know, but if you are looking for a cheap read then there are probably much worse things out there in the kindle store.


I know I haven't posted anything in a couple of weeks. Now that I have finally stopped procrastinating this review I am hoping to get up some more blog posts for you guys soon.

Your Favourite Blogger,
Natalie


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Pretty Picture Post: Stockings and Shoes

Hi Everyone,

It's been a little while since I posted some pretty pictures and I thought this time I would do something different and post some vintage shoe and stocking ads. I've never been a big shoe lover. I like them, I'm just not as shoe obsessed as some people might expect me to be. I've got about ten or so pairs of ballet flats and a few pairs of heels/wedges that spend a lot of time collecting dust in the bottom of my cupboard. Not a small collection by any means, but I definitely don't need to buy a new bookcase to store them.

I think the reason that I've never been a real big shoe lover is because my long skinny feet which are not the same size as each other, aren't always easy to fit into shoes (I tend to find that I'm between sizes). I'm also not a huge fan of anything with a thin heel or a heel over 3 inches high. I may have taken a lot of dance classes, but my balance is not THAT good. I also can be really fussy about the design of the back of the shoe and I like my shoes to be mostly closed in because I don't like my feet a great deal and I don't really do the whole pedicure thing (which is also probably a surprise because I'm almost always sporting a manicure with some kind of nail art).

One of my favourite things about wearing vintage style is that you aren't required to wear heels to suit the look. Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly were often spotted wearing cute ballet flats, penny loafers or sandals with their daytime outfits on or off screen. When ladies wore heels they didn't look like they had bricks or spaceships on their feet. In the earlier eras heels were quite small which made them perfect for dancing. Whether you have a room full of shoes or just a few pairs, I hope you enjoy this post of pretty advertisements and catalog pages.

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The shoes shown in the pictures above are from a few different eras. I love the maryjane style shoes of the 20's and 30's, the wedges of the 1940's, the 1950's details and the funky designs of the 60's. I probably wouldn't wear all of the shoes pictured as some are just a little too out-there for me and some look just a little too wobbly or high for my taste. I think some of those bejeweled 1950's evening heels are so fun to look at. They are the things of fairytales. I'm also saying that because the only way I could probably walk in them them or have a place to wear them would also be in a fantasy realm.

There are definitely some taller designs out there in the wide web, but this is my Musings post so I wanted to share the designs that I like the best. I think its really interesting to look at how shoe designs have changed over the years and see which aspects of the design stay in fashion or make comebacks. For Example I know a lot of people find it surprising that wedge shoes were a 1940's thing and I like that a good pair of black maryjane shoes or T-bar shoes can be worn with a huge variety of outfits regardless of which era your outfit is inspired by.

As far as stockings go, I think they can really add to the vintage aesthetic and I adore the advertisements. I don't wear thigh-highs in real life though because of the hassle of getting them to stay up. They look great in pictures etc though. I think seamed stockings, patterned tights and hosiery with other details are cute but not if there is too much fidgeting involved. Getting seams to sit straight on these bowed legs? I've got better things to waste my time on. Also because of availability reasons and needing a pair of stockings in a longer length I find that plain old beige/tan is the best way to go for most occasions.

I hope you all enjoyed the pictures I found and if you want to go to the image source click on the little star underneath the picture. 

Your Favourite Blogger,
Natalie