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sunflowers_scene

Early yesterday evening, my beloved Grandmother passed from this life to the next in Sydney, with my Dad and my Aunty by her side.

She was ill for a long time – a perfect soul in a broken body. I take comfort in the fact that she is no longer in pain.

As I wrote on my personal Facebook page last night, I will always be so grateful to her. Through our countless games of Scrabble when I was a child, she instilled in me a deep, all-consuming love of words. Through our long, meandering discussions about the stars and the Universe, she imparted to me a profound belief in magic of all kinds. And through her unwavering belief that we must all take our own journeys, she gave me the courage to always, always follow the sun.

My Grandma and I were kindred spirits. We shared a deep connection that resonated in many different ways throughout my twenty five years. The most poignant of all of these was my first trip to the British National Gallery in 2007. After wandering aimlessly for hours, I found Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’. It took my breath away. I knew then and there that sunflowers would always be symbolic of my beautiful Gran. I bought a postcard with the painting printed on the front and sent it to her that day, and years later, had three sunflowers permanently etched into my skin. She loved my tattoo. She told me so every time I spoke to her.

She will always be with me. She taught me to dance to my own song. She taught me to follow the sun. She taught me to always walk my own special path. When the sun warms my sunflowers, I will think of her.

Sleep peacefully, Gran. I love you.

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I will be taking a short break from blogging over the next few days. I plan to return to my usual posting schedule new week. Thankyou for all your love and support. MJ x

 

I’ve been experimenting with different makeup looks lately and taken inspiration from a number of amazing artists. I’m always amazed by the different ways that we all see and use colour – it’s such a beautiful phenomenon! One of the best compliments I’ve ever received was my friend Leah announcing that she believed that I see colour more brightly than other people. I’m not sure if that’s true – but I do believe that we all interpret colour in our own unique ways.

But enough of the philosophical stuff! I personally love how neon pairs with super dark colours – kind of like the neon lights of Vegas against a black night sky. I wore this look on Saturday, and it might just be one of my all time favourites, ever.

plum-lipstick

I’ve been wanting to use this Inglot neon pink pigment for ages and ages. I think it pairs beautifully with the ultra-dark plum lipstick. If you didn’t want to go quite so bold, you could always tone it down with a lovely nude lip, too!

plum-lipstick

I’ve also started using Rimmel’s Stay Matte foundation. It was on sale for $12.95 and I bought it on a whim. I have to say – I think it might be the best foundation I have ever used – ever. Including all high end and drugstore varieties. For my complexion (yellow undertone) and skin type (oily), it is perfect. A match made in heaven. It stays in place all day long, and doesn’t even go shiny toward the end of the day. It’s a miracle product. I’m in love!

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What do you think? Would you wear a deep plum shade lipstick like this one?

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*Photos taken on my iPhone 5 in natural light (no flash)

20 Oct 2014

Gorgeous readers,

I am very sorry about the radio silence over the last five days. It’s been a very long time since I’ve allowed so many days to pass without blogging and I’ve really been missing it. Aside from what can only be described as a socially hectic week, there’s been a lot going on in the land of Valentine.

The internet at our house was out for most of last week, which made life very difficult (as I’m sure you can imagine). My studies resumed after a two week break, and my workload is starting to stress me out. I had a massive wedding booking on Saturday morning, and my Dad came over to Adelaide to visit for the weekend, which means a lot of family time and dinners together. My grandmother is also gravely ill, which has been a huge emotional stress on us all.

I hope that regular programming will resume by the end of the week.

If you are struggling through at the moment, please know that I am right there with you and I love you. Even despite our best efforts, life isn’t sunshine and rainbows all the time. Just keep your head high – maybe when we pull through, we can all go and dance in the rain.

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When I taught my first group makeup lesson back in early September, it really struck me that nearly every woman in the group confessed to not knowing how to visit a makeup counter. A couple of them said that they had had awful experiences of being bullied and pressured by pushy sales girls, and a couple said that they’d never even been to a counter because they felt too intimidated.

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I saw this phenomenon in action a couple of weeks later when I took one of the ladies from the session makeup shopping – she went to a well-known professional make counter when I went to go and get us coffee, and when she came back, she told me that the girl who’d helped her was pushy, rude and belittling.

I find this incredibly sad. It might sound silly, but I believe going to makeup counters should be a fun, happy, creative experience that all women should be able to enjoy freely!

On the whole, many counter artists are lovely, helpful, artistic people who really believe in the products they sell. However, there will always be that small handful of people who will ruin it for everyone else – and (very generally speaking) counter artists are somewhat known for being big ol’ meanies. There are some easy ways to improve your makeup shopping experience: let’s look at some of the key points together.

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Know what you need to buy. The worst way to lose a lot of money fast in a makeup store is going in without having an idea of what you want. A good sales rep will empty your purse faster than you can say ‘limited edition gift set’. Check what you’re running low on and what you’ve run out of. Check what’s out of date and needs to be replaced. Think about any specific items you might want to try, like white eyeliner gel or a matte red lipstick. Write a list and keep it close!

The artists may not assist you immediately. This is especially true on high traffic days like Saturdays. Artists will most likely have back-to-back appointments on Saturdays with clients coming in to have their makeup done. These clients will take priority over everyone else who comes in to the store, because the artists know they will be big spenders. Expect to have to wait for a little while if you require assistance!

Occasionally, you may come across an artist who is just plain rude and ignores you completely. My personal way of dealing with these ones is to completely ignore them back until I’m ready to make my purchase, and then pointedly ask to be served when I’m ready to pay. Just remember, you have every right to be in the store and you don’t have to validate anybody else’s nasty behaviour – that goes for both makeup counters and life in general!

Play with the products. They are on display so that customers can pick them up, feel them and apply them (try to stick to the back of your hand for hygiene reasons). If there are disposable applicators available, please use them – particularly for lip products! You can wipe off the end of the tube or the top of the pan with a tissue to make sure you are only using fresh, clean product. Let’s face it – you have no idea who picked it up before you!

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Ask for testers. If you’re not 100% sure wether something is the right colour, it’s best to look at it under natural light. If you’re in a department store, this will mean leaving the counter to go outside. It’s okay to ask for testers – most counters have a ‘two per person’ or ‘three per person’ rule, and they have product allowances for items to be set aside as testers. If you’re going to drop fifty dollars on a foundation or thirty dollars on a tube of lipstick, you are perfectly entitled to make sure it’s what you actually want first! Don’t be afraid to ask for testers, because the artist may not offer straight away.

Counter makeup artists are sales reps, first and foremost. They are not only given, but are expected to exceed strict sales targets for each day, week, month, quarter and year. If they’re trying to push you into purchasing something, it’s primarily because they want to meet these targets. Know this: their targets are not your problem. If you have a budget, stick to it. There are a few common makeup counter add-ons to be aware of – the artists will likely try each of these on for size if they can, so be prepared:

Buying: lipstick
Add-ons: lip liner or primer, lipgloss

Buying: blusher
Add-ons: bronzer, highlighter

Buying: foundation
Add-ons: primer, concealer, powder

Buying: eyeshadow
Add-ons: eyeliner, eye primer, mascara

Point-of-sale or till add-ons: brushes, makeup wipes, makeup remover, cases, sponges, promotional items

There’s a fine balance between accepting their advice (for example, it is better to set foundation with a powder, and to use a lip liner under lipstick) and being bullied into buying extra products – the bottom line is, if you are feeling pressured, firmly state that you’re on a budget and you only want x product and then thank the artist for their help. Usually, mention of a budget or limited funds is enough to deter artists from pushing for more sales!

Don’t be afraid to speak up. If you have a horrible experience at a counter with a rude artist, let the company know. Make a note of the day and time you went to the store, and note the name of the artist you dealt with, if you can. You can then later call the counter directly and speak to the manager, or look have a look on the company’s website for a customer service email address.

Makeup counter artists are notorious for being rude and pushy – and that kind of behaviour is not okay, in a retail environment or anywhere else! There is no excuse to treat somebody badly, and the company will want to know about any artists who reflect poorly on the brand’s image.

Makeup shopping should be a fun experience, not a stressful chore. I hope you’ve found this guide useful!

What’s been your experience with makeup counters? Wonderful? Awful? Tell me all about it!

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Image creds: Fashion Sense, All Things Beauty, MAC Cosmetics

14 Oct 2014

Happy Tuesday babes!

I spent the day feeding baby ducklings, trying on new shoes (!) and playing in the flowers with Sarah and Kelly, not to mention writing up on vintage style for modern babes over at Clutch Those Heels. I’m sitting in CTH HQ with a champagne and feeling exhausted, but very happy!

It’s time for the latest edition of Netfix – and this one is short and sweet. Enjoy!

  • I wasn’t going to link to this, but then incredibly I realised: the Rundle Mall pigs made it onto this list of 25 of the most creative sculptures in the world! Adelaide represent!
  • This tutorial could be useful for a Halloween makeup!

“Just because you have enough left-over attractiveness to remain bangable after cutting off your hair doesn’t mean you wouldn’t look better with it back on.” *Sigh*

  • This studio visit with Adam Harteau is absolutely gorgeous. The interview discusses his latest exhibition, which was inspired by a nomadic journey through Central and South America. So beautiful!

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“We have constructed gender roles for both women and men and then criticize people who don’t fit into our beautifully packaged gender boxes. News flash: gender isn’t black and white. It is linear. It is a continuum. You may lean one way or the other, but no one is strictly “male” or “female”.”

Isn’t she the best?!

Well… I told you it was short and sweet!

Have a great evening everyone. I’m off for a hot bubble bath and a Criminal Minds marathon. Yesss.

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