Saturday, 20 April 2013

The Week That Was #10 - Be Vulnerable

Friday Favourites has become 'The Week That Was'. It's more of a reflection of the week rather than on product favourites (especially since I don't always have actual tangible favourites to discuss!). This is a notebook after all and I would love it to expand sideways into more things.

I'm planning to embark on her new album next week but I just Alicia Key's 'Brand New Me' this week and it's exactly how I feel.  I am a bonafide late bloomer and I have changed so so much in the past 4 years because I never let go when I was growing up.  It took a long, long road to get here / It took a brave, brave girl to try. 
I'm still trying :)

I got a haircut! Yup I shed my dead, fraying ends and even got a sideways fringe cut. I needed a change and cutting your hair can be so therapeutic.  I went to my local Hair Warehouse and was really pleasantly surprised by the service the girls offered and the tips I got, including how to train my fringe to stay at this acute angle to the side. The secret? A long, skinny hair claw - genius.  I've been wearing it to bed every night! I am still working out how I want to style my hair as right now I feel a bit like a Japanese doll, and while it's a nice look, it's not really me.  I'm enviously looking at girls with tousled, beachy locks.. how do they do that..? My hair is just so thick..

Emma Watson did a really good job with her speech at the MTV Movie Awards when she accepted the Trailblazer award. The line I loved was when she spoke about how much can come from when we are vulnerable. Vulnerable - that word is a word I feel like my brain forgot. We, particularly women, nowadays talk so much about being strong, I do - all the time. But there is something about being vulnerable, being open to chance and trying something outside our comfort zone. We don't have to always muscle our way through life and we also don't always need our security blanket with us. I'm going to let myself be vulnerable again, and take a chance, again.

How was your week? I always get so philosophical at week's end..

x mai-anne
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Thursday, 18 April 2013

A Makeup Cleansing Routine

Yep, I have a full makeup cleansing routine. My life is rather exciting, yes?

I'm a bit of a skincare nut but I'm even more ruthless with my cleansing routine. I have never gone to bed with makeup on, even before I was bitten with the beauty bug. I think I was always afraid makeup would ruin my skin and I'd wake up to Shar Pei skin (yes I just googled "wrinkly dog").  This routine is the whole hog, when I've worn foundation and eye makeup that day so don't worry, it's not an every day occurrance!

I start first the Earth Science Eye Makeup Remover on a cotton pad, gently patting it on for a few seconds before carefully swiping all the colours away. I try to use just the one cotton pad, not because I'm cheap (well.. not just because I'm cheap) but to create as little waste as possible. This eye makeup remover is a beaut and does really well at cleaning up most of the mess without leaving my lids parched.
    I then follow up with an oil to start taking off my face makeup.  I'm loving jojoba oil at the moment and currently using the one by Desert Essence (I'm not sure if there is a huge difference between brands yet). It's a light-medium oil so it is easy to rub and into the skin. I like to take my time here and massage it into my face and close to the hairline, which can be an easily forgotten place. I also swipe a little onto and around my eyes to break down any remaining eye makeup. I really advise to do this second because I find that jojoba oil is thin enough to slightly touch the eyes and added with makeup - weeell it doesn't feel good! Those with more sensitive peepers may feel the sting, even mine can feel a tinge.
    I then take to water to take off the oil. The jojoba oil doesn't stick to my skin as much as others like coconut oil so it's really easy to rinse off and it leaves it feeling so soft and hydrated. I always double cleanse and my dry skin loves a cream cleanser.  Double cleansing is really important because it cleans deeper and removes any excess oil. I'm currently using the U Little Beauty Cream Cleanser one and while it's doesn't match my all time favourite Sukin Cream Cleanser it is nice and you need very little product to cover your face and neck (oh yeah, did I mention the neck yet? Clean your neck! Especially if you take your foundation down there like me)
    Okay, last step now, I promise! After I've patted my face dry I use a micellar water and a cotton tip to clean any last bits of my eye makeup. Yes, those little crevices hide even more makeup that a general cleanse won't get to. Right now I'm going through the Caudalie Cleansing Water which is okay, but not a favourite. Using the cotton tip I can swipe at my water line and around my lashes to take off the final dregs of makeup - you'd be surprised at how much is still left. I clean until the bud isn't turning black anymore, which isn't too long considering there were three steps before it!

Phew! So there we have it, a 4-step routine to clean off makeup, simples. I know it's a bit hectic but it's worth it and I really enjoy my skincare and I hope you do too. It's funny, I use to hate skincare but now I see it as a moment to take care of yourself and relax..

How do you go about your makeup removal ways? Don't tell me you fall asleep with it on!

x mai-anne

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Saturday, 13 April 2013

Friday Favourites #9 - Believe.. Harder

There was a bit of theme this week, it came up a few times in different places. It's funny how life is like that.

Music. 'It's Time' - Imagine Dragons

I know, this song is old. But it's a bit of a rediscovery. I just love the chorus, I love melodies like these, and while the lyrics aren't so original, it doesn't sound cheesy and still communicates. I'm very much feeling the song's theme. I feel like I only just started living a few years ago, and really truly started discovering myself in the last half a year that I'm just not ready to "grow up".  

TV. Emma (2009, BBC)

I'm not sure what's wrong with me. I'm getting obsessed with all things British. I'm always playing Downton Abbey in the background, I'm subscribed to so many British youtube channels and blogs and this week it was BBC's Emma's turn. While I don't love it as much as Pride and Prejudice (how could anyone?!) I still love the story and this was quite a good adaption (charming actors too, especially Romola Garai) and I love that they didn't make Mr Knightley seem really old. I don't mind weird age gaps but golly, the amount of much older men to women in Downton Abbey are so many and they go undiscussed because it's normal. Just shows how sexist things were, and how men of any age could link themselves to young women.  If it were the other way around there would be outrage.  Oops, I didn't really talk about Emma much here did I...

Beauty. Stila In the Light
By George, I finally get it! I finally understand how to use this thing on me! I've stared at it longingly for months, wishing it would suit me to find that so many of the colours pulling so red on my skin. Red just doesn't work for my skin tone and hooded eyes. Even 'Gilded Gold', which looks olive in the pan pulls incredibly red (or red-brown). But alas some more experimenting has meant that I can finally use frosty shades like kitten and champagne all over the lid. I feel a need to talk about this more so I think I will do a full post on it.. :P

I just discovered this blog this week and I adore it.  I love how this is her journal and she shares all of her thoughts and loves and seems like a genuinely lovely person. Her blogging tips post was such a great read, it was interesting and inspiring to read about how much she believed in her blog even back in its early days.  I love hearing about stories like that.

I know, cheeeesey!! But do you see the theme? :P
This is the Aussie version of The Voice, and while I hate how these franchises look exactly the same in each country (really? we couldn't have a different looking stage, colours or anything?) it's incredibly fun to watch.  I'm not a huge Seal fan but he said something that really struck me during the show. He said how the 4 judges may not be the best at what they do, but they believed harder than everybody else and that's what got them to where they are. I really believed him as I saw it there for myself - those four judges really aren't the best singers in the world but yet they are so successful and unique. The most successful people in the world aren't always the smartest, prettiest, most talented but they are the ones that persevered despite that. I stopped thinking about how important it is to believe as I got caught up in it for so much of my life that I did very little about it, and so I have spent the last few years just doing things. I think it's time to combine those two powers - to work hard and to believe in oneself. We've got to believe harder when times get rough, and believe that what we do is worth it. 
 Oh and one more lesson/quote I wanted to add: you're not going to please everyone. A common saying, but it has struck me more this week, especially when it comes to blogging. I'm still in the wee early, evolving days and this quote has made me feel easier about what I write and love.

I hope you've had an enjoyable week, what have you loved and learned this week? :)

x mai-anne
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Friday, 12 April 2013

Poppin' My Nars Cherry (Haul)

So somehow, I went a little cray cray and got 3 little Nars packages in the past week or so. I didn't mean to gather a mini haul, timed offers and finds meant that it happened all at once.. I swear..

Nars is one of those overly raved brands and the makeup noob in me has been wanting to try. It doesn't have the best ingredients so I put it off for awhile, but I appreciate that it is cruelty free (though owned by a larger company, but more thoughts on this topic later) and I'm slowly starting to move towards cruelty free brands and so it made me more keen to try Nars.

After much debate, I finally picked a shade of the Sheer Glow Foundation, deciding on Deauville as winter is coming. I love the finish of this foundation though I do think it largely depends on the skincare beforehand.  The colour is quite neutral one (with slight yellow leanings) and I'm starting to find neutral-yellow undertones suit me well.  A weekend 10% off Nars offer at paved the way for me to finally purchase the powder blush in Luster, which was the blush I have wanted the most from Nars (highly recommend Hqhair now by the way). Such a gorgeous shimmery, light apricot shade that reminds me of autumn leaves. Continuing on the autumn theme, I randomly saw the blush in Mounia on eBay and I thought it was too good an offer to pass up.  I ended up winning it for around $27 which wasn't too bad (and cheaper than US retail anyway :D). I first heard about this blush from MissGlamorazzi and was looking for a plummy blush for autumn. I have worn it once and well, it is beautiful.  It's my first deeper coloured blush and it doesn't dull the skin at all, it does quite the opposite - giving that just-out-from-the-snow flush even on my light-medium skintone. sigh.

Nars is quite funny with their ingredients. The liquid products seem to score well on whilst their powder products are filled with things that may make one a bit queasy - the opposite of most mainstream brands I find! 

What are your top recommendations from Nars? Whilst I'm hoping to not go too crazy I am rather curious.. *slaps hand*

:P mai-anne
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Wednesday, 10 April 2013

march beauty faves!

March Favourites, a third way into April! 

Green Loves (+Hygiene!?)
My eye makeup removal has been made a lot easier because of the Earth Science Eye Makeup Remover. It has a cool gel texture and doesn't leave my eyes overly dry, I'm planning a more in depth post featuring this product so more on this soon! On the same-ish topic, I've been loving using Jojoba Oil to remove makeup and it leaves my skin feeling so soft afterwards. The Plus White 5 Minute Gel has been doing wonders on my teeth and I'm going to soldier on with it until my teeth are good looking before I look for more natural alternatives. And Swiss Super Greens, my new love. I take it with my juice and it feels like a detox but without the nasty effects. Great brand too.

The Make-Up
I've been guiltily loving the MUA Undressed palette, the infamous Urban Decay Naked palette dupe.  I have loved the colours more than I thought I would for quite a warm palette, and the pigmentation isn't half bad. Guilt factor? It does contain parabens, not the absolute worst thing in the world but if it didn't have it, this would be considered near perfect! 
  Cue the crazy collecting lady, my Essence obsession has started. Now I'm not much of a make-up collector per se but with good pricing (big thumbs up for not jacking up their prices in Aus), cruelty free shoutouts and the cute-as-a-button packaging, it is winning big in my books.  I didn't think much of them before as their core collection has the usual petroleum and paraben-laden formulas like most drugstore products, but after examining their collection items I saw nothing of the sort. My inner voice squealed with excitement so home went the Circus Circus Highlighter with me and I adore it. The powder is quite finely milled that it is easy to apply without looking like freckles of glitter here and there and the gold colour is delish. I even like it more than MAC's Soft and Gentle (gasp!). Can't wait for their next collection!
  I've mentioned it so many times before but I wanted to mention Stila's Convertible Color in Gerbera again as I just hit pan on it.  It is a cream product so the bottom is not as easy to see, but I've been loving this colour on my cheeks as the Sydney weather couldn't decide if it was Summer or Autumn in March. The downside to this product is that it only has a 6 month lifespan but I don't know if I can let it go after that date passes..
  Sitting happily on my nails this month has been China Glaze's Mahogany Magic from the Hunger Games collection. While it is indeed a shade of brown (snore) I thought of it as chocolate, and during the sugary season of Easter, why not..

So there goes March and April is finally looking like Autumn, looking forward to it!

What have you been loving lately?

x mai-anne

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Monday, 8 April 2013

Sunday Night Pamper #2 - The New and the Old

My Sunday night goodies don't change too much as I don't have to wild a skincare "collection" so this series hasn't been as regular as I first thought. I'm quite careful when it comes to buying skincare products so I end up finishing most of my products. Tonight was a bit more special with some dear favourites I only let myself occasionally use and some newbies to the club, all by my current favourite skincare brands *swoon*.

First up were the masks. I've mentioned the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask a few times already and here is another! It's a beautiful mask to apply with a light marmalade look and smell, and your skin just looks like the light has turned on once removed. This little sample size is 15mL which will last me awhile but I will be buying a full size when it sadly runs out. I followed it up with the Green People Vitamin Mask which reminds me of its Day Cream sister but thicker and more dense. It's a nice budget buy (a loose term, I know) and will suit a lot of skin types I think. I love following a exfoliating type mask with one packed with goodness, it just feels like the ingredients will work better and dig deeper, though I can't scientifically back that up myself!

I then went on with my skincare routine, but with some specialties tonight. I let myself start with the Antipodes Apostle Brightening & Tone Correcting Serum (sadly omitted in the pictures), as I have been lately rationing it as it is on its last legs. Good news is that Myer has it Antipodes for 25% off right now (run!) and this is one of the products that matches international pricing so I'm off to repurchase soon! I love this serum and I since I have already professed my love for it here I wont bore you again. After finishing the REN Frankincense Night Cream last night (which I loved by the way), I got to finally crack out the Melvita Youthful Skin Cream tonight. While it is very early days to give any sort of review, it is much lighter in texture than I usually prefer but I love the feel of it on my skin. I really trust Melvita, I don't know why but I'm definitely going to try more of their products! 

A simpleton's night tonight, but it is always fun to experiment with some new-ish products (who's with me!) and now I'm off to watch the latest episode of A Game of Thrones, * insert big cheesy grin here*.  What have you been pampering yourself with lately? 

x mai-anne
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Double Friday Favourites! 7+8

Week 7 was quite a jam packed week and so week 8 became the recovery week, justifying a double FF :D. No hangovers, just a case of being overwhelmed! I'm going to aim to get these back on time, after watch Lily Pebbles' latest video here, it has inspired me and made me realised how dedicated one must be to get a blog going (probably a big duh to everyone else!). So here I am, tired but determined to get going.. !

Music/Gig: Candy Rat Guitar night with Maneli Jamal and Owen Van Larkins
Two world-class, virtuoso guitarists on our little stage, it was an inspiring night. It was the first time meeting Maneli, and for a guy still in his 20s, he's lived. The stories he told, the places he's lived in, and his music! The ease of his skill and the lyrical flow of his songs were incredible to watch and listen. And of course, Owen. I champion Owen as he is the newer, and lesser known of the two and our Aussie! His technique inspires me, not so much to be a better guitarist (hah!) but to be so dedicated in what I do. Plus his songs are catchy.. I let these guys off a fee we usually charge (long and well justified story) and asked for their cds as compensation. Win!

Beauty. New Makeup Storage Bits

Please forgive my flamin' s*#@ photos tonight, my eyes were just not working! I picked up the plate and napkin holder in a recent Urban Outfitters Haul here and they dress up my makeup area nicely. I like this area pretty and inspiring over functional, especially since I don't have that much make-up (for a beauty lover that is!) and that's the way I feel about makeup.

Outfit. An Engagement Party
So many people are getting married this year, it's ridiculous! I'm going to be at least 30 I think! Anyway... one of my good buddies just got engaged and I had no idea what to wear until the morning of. I love clothes, but I'm not very girly so dresses just aren't my thing. I ended up ditching my initial idea of a pink polka dot dress (!!) for this long sleeve, navy dress with a cute peter pan collar. My dear cousin in Vietnam made it for me and I proudly MacGyver'ed it that morning, cutting up the sleeve stitching so I could roll the sleeves up. Might be why I like this outfit. I paired it with a pair of wedge sneakers, a belt I found in my dad's closet, black stockings and I was one happy boyish girl that day!

I gigged again in the past fortnight, in fact I played 3 gigs in 3 days (1 was unexpected). I haven't gigged in ages since I pushed myself so hard trying to play so much last year that I ran out of steam and excitement for it. But the little flame inside me has been lit again and I'm dying to get my technique sorted and learn how to be a disciplined person (hence the current 12am clock.. :P).  I'm starting to slowly figure out about how I want to go about my life but that's another post.. 

Hope you had a fun past fortnight, what have you loved/learned in the past week?

x mai-anne
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Friday, 5 April 2013

Empties! The Stand-outs and the Rest

 I'm not a fan of empties posts, so I thought I'd try and find a different approach and have more fun with it..

The Stand-Outs

While the Aubrey Organics White Camelia Condition is not the prettiest bottle in the world, this is my favourite natural conditioner for my thick, coarse, bleached hair 'cause it works! Hair is left soft and nourished as it should be. Lush Lovely Jubblies was a fun cream to use because well, it is a breast cream :) (I'm not a good grown-up am I?!) The Essential Care Ultra Rich for Eczema & Psoriasis rescued me last year when I was having eczema flare ups and I will repurchase if I need to.  I usually don't like balms, but this has a soft, slightly grainy texture that is easily spreadable so it was actually lovely to use.  It's definitely a must for me, as while it doesn't relieve immediate itching, it prevents it in the longer term.  The downside? It only lasts a few months so this is not an emptie, but an overdue'y. The Essence Pumpkin Hand Cream is a nice little budget buy, thick but soft and easily spreadable. Some may find it a little greasy but my hands can get quite dry so I liked it. And my love, the Green People 24 Hour Fix. My HG day cream. 'Nuff said.

The Okay
The Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum was something I really looked forward to but it didn't wow me on its own. Though it did help in my spider veins and I wrote about it here. The Paradise Organically Clean was a nice hand sanitiser and the Planet Earth Lavender Chamomile Body Lotion was actually better and I expected but it's inclusion of dimethicone puts me off buying it again.  The Acure Cleansing Creme was, well okay - nothing special, but I find it hard to knock a brand that is organic and fair trade (sigh, everything should be fair trade..).  Weleda's Pomegranate Firming Cream was very moisturising but felt rather greasy, a longer review was written here and Innisfree's Eco Curling Mascara was initially loved, but my repurchase didn't seem to have the same magic, less curling prowess and flaky eyes by the nighttime, so I don't think I will be buying again.

The Thank God it's Over

It too aaages to finish the Sukin Body Wash, it didn't induce my eczema so yay but it left my skin feel too squeaky clean. And the pump! It needed to be lifted up after each press and I had to use so much product to clean my whole body. And the Caudalie Solei Divine SPF 30 Sunscreen, was very greasy even on my parched skin. I've had so little luck with Caudalie products that I won't buy from them again, especially since they're also not a cruelty-free brand, something I'm starting to look into.

Phew! Those are all my empties! Now I finally get rid of this trash..!

What do you think of empties posts?

x mai-anne
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Thursday, 4 April 2013

A Homey Urban Outfitters Haul!

Don't know why, I only ordered 5 items, but it came in this huuge box! A slight overkill.. though makes it rather exciting!

The goodies.. 
I love this picture and the colours. Definitely where my heart is at right now..

The napkin holder looked like a cloud on the website, I had to buy it! Currently storing some eyeshadow palettes, of course. The heart plate has my favourite colour combo, and while it is smaller than I expected, its unusual size has actually come quite handy. 

I love this album. I forgive Kanye's crazies because I think he's a rare bud.  Trying to work out how to use vinyls to dress up my room though it's not quite working as much as I had hoped. Will continue to try.. I love that UO ship to Aus for free for orders over $50, that's a better deal than other Aussie online shops. *sigh*
Have you been feelin' homey lately? :P

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