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I am completely obsessed with YouTube. I know I’m about ten years too late, but omigosh, I’m in love. YouTube is the first place I turn with a question or obsession. If I’m unsure about a makeup product? YouTube. Researching hair extensions companies? YouTube. Bored and seeking makeup inspiration? YouTube. Desperate to window-shop but can’t be bothered leaving the house? YouTube.

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The beautiful Leesha of XSparkage! (Image via XSparkage.com)

Of course, the search term that’s probably had the most of a bashing via my laptop is ‘makeup tutorials’. I watch them for hours at a time, curled up in bed with a mug of tea. I’m constantly blown away by how many unbelievably talented artists there are in the world – and the great thing about YouTube is that anyone can post videos, so it’s a great platform for ‘untrained’ artists to get their name out there. The zillions of tutorials on YouTube really help to open your mind and get you thinking about how you might be able to try things a different way. Ironically, ‘untrained’ artists are probably my favourite to watch – they never had someone to tell them that they ‘can’t’ or ‘shouldn’t’ do something. They had to learn everything through trial and error, and are therefore (generally) far less inhibited.

If you’re seeking makeup tips, creative inspiration or even just good ol’ fashioned entertainment (because a few of these babes are absolutely hilarious), check these channels out!

Lauren Curtis

Well, duh. If you’ve never watched a makeup tutorial on YouTube before, Lauren Curtis’s channel is probably the best place to start – especially if you’re an Aussie. Lauren is the epitome of the stereotypical Aussie girl – blonde, tanned, sweet and funny, her style is simple and easy enough to follow along if you’re just starting out. Originally from Perth and now living in Bondi Beach, Sydney, Lauren has the most successful Australian YouTube channel in the entire country with well over 1.9 million subscribers. I know, right?

Batalash Beauty

Dry, sarcastic and sexy as hell – Samantha, Angela, Dominique and Jkissa are truly exceptional artists. Their badass attitude and ‘fuck it’ approach to traditional makeup techniques is so down to earth and refreshing it’s crazy. Originally launched by Samantha and a friend of hers who left to pursue a career in film, Batalash blew so far out of the water that Sam had to take on three new contributors. Definite girl-crush favourites of the month!

 

XSparkage

I first started reading Leesha’s blog around the same time I started reading Gala Darling’s – which was ten years ago. Leesha was one of the first artists to become well known on the internet, back in the LiveJournal days (oh God, do you remember LiveJournal?). Her blog has had several facelifts and she now owns and operates not one, but two YouTube channels – XSparkage and LeeshaVlogs, the latter of which is dedicated to her day-to-day life. I imagine the content will be quite mummy-oriented from now on, with the arrival of her beautiful daughter Violet three weeks ago!  

Tyme The Infamous

Tyme’s channel was a fairly recent discovery of mine, but I’m so glad I came across it: this babe is right up my alley. Tyme’s channel is the one to visit if you’re after bright, bold, or Barbie, with a healthy dose of ultra-sass thrown in. In the last video of Tyme’s I watched, the girl had THIRTY INCH pale pink hair extensions. I mean, whuuut? Not to mention, she has major style – the background of a lot of her newer vids features several wall shelves containing several pairs of Louboutins and Jimmy Choos.

Hannah Hospital 

Love more of that ‘scene’ or emo style? Hannah Hospital has you covered. While a lot of her work references slightly ‘darker’ subcultures, her technique and skill is amazing. I love the way that she uses products in unconventional ways, and her eye looks are always amazing. Not to mention, her hair – gah! Always varying shades of neon and totally rad. She’s a badass sweetheart with a killer brushstroke.

The Emanuele Castelli

This dude makes the fiercest looks so easy and so wearable it hurts. He is the master of the cut crease and Prince Of Glitter, and his style is probably one of my favourites to watch. I’ve recreated a couple of his slightly more adventurous looks, and take it from someone who knows: his method is far easier to follow along with than some of the other artists I’ve played around with. If you’re after the ultimate party look, check this babe out before any others.

Makeup By Michael Finch

Another Aussie sweetheart who’s been a recent addition to my subscription list is the supremely awesome Michael Finch. Even though his channel is fairly new, this ridiculously talented little starlet is only seventeen years old and self taught – can you imagine what he’ll be up to by the time he’s 21?!  For an even better look at what this babe has created in the past, check out his Instagram – I nearly died when I saw it. He is, literally, AMAZING. 

Maya Mia

I find Maya’s voice so soothing and calming. It’s like going into zen mode, watching her channel! Maya Mia reminds me a bit of Lauren Curtis, only Maya is from Tanzania (one of my ultimate dream holiday destinations!). She looks are, in a word, perfection. They are pristine. She posts a really nice balance of soft/mutable/’wearable’ looks, as well as some great bright and fun looks too. And by the way, she has the most flawless skin ever!

Queen Of Blending

Like Leesha from XSparkage, Lauren was one of the first ce-web-rities in the makeup world, dating back to the days of MySpace. And, I’ll just say it – this chick is nuts. Stacked lashes, rhinestones, fifty-colours-at-a-time kind of nuts. Her style is definitely not for the faint-hearted – but if you can kind of get past the ‘oh my God’ thing, you will see that the original Queen Of Blending is one ridiculously talented lady.

Beauty Life Michelle 

This Irish born Aussie would make any fairy jealous. Ultra wide-eyed and beautiful, Michelle’s style is quite delicate, with a pristine sort of femininity that’s hard to replicate. I originally found Michelle when I was searching for reviews of Zala Hair Extensions, and I just fell in love with her after that! If you want honest reviews and a lovely, lady-like disposition, give her channel a whirl.

I hope all these amazing babes will keep you occupied and keep your creative mind satisfied for a while! Don’t forget to subscribe to any that you love and be sure to give your favourite videos a ‘thumbs up’ (they tell me vloggers love that).

Do you have a favourite beauty blogger? Please link their channel in the comments, I’d love to check them out!

MJ x  

21 Jul 2014

I was in the mood for a bit of colour this morning – more than usual, that is. I’ve had a bright yellow Inglot eye shadow in one of my palettes for years that I hadn’t ever worn. I decided to bust it out today, using it as the spring board (no pun intended!) for this lovely Spring inspired look! Did you see it on Instagram?

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Whenever I use bright eyeshadow colours, I use my NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in ‘Milk’ as the base for the colour. The pencil is a thick, waxy,  opaque white cream that hold shadow colour perfectly and intensifies colour tenfold.

Directly on top of the white base, I used three Inglot eyeshadows to get a solid colour, and then used some matching shimmery colours from my 88 Palette over the top.

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I also wanted to share my entry from last week for the 52 Week Makeup Challenge! Last week was ‘circus themed’, so I went with a creepy harlequin-style ring master look… ch-check it out!

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What do you think?! I know the eyebrows are a bit wonky, but I think overall it turned out pretty well!

I am so over the cold – bring on Spring!

MJ x 

I wish I’d added some leopard spots to this look from yesterday. I’ve had a few bad days in a row, and I think some animalia really would have matched my mood. RAWR. Get out of my way.

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Sorry bout the random strand of hair. I don’t know how to use Photoshop.

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MJ x 

I hate the term ‘whipped’. It might be my feminist side talking, but man, it just conjures images of a cattle ranch and a disobedient bull that’s run afoul the herd, unknowingly creating chaos, with a cowboy beating it half to death into submission.

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I’ve never been the ‘crazy girlfriend’. I’ve never called a boyfriend, screaming blue murder, demanding to know where he is. I’ve never told a boyfriend he ‘can’t’ do anything or see anyone. I’ve always maintained that I’d never to do a partner what I wouldn’t like to have done to me; I need my freedom, and I recognise that in all my family, friends, and lovers.

Dudes occasionally just need to surround themselves with other dudes. They need to drink, laugh, make jokes and generally get their testosterone on. It’s no big deal. Girls do it, too – I know I have attended countless wine-and-chatter fests with my girlfriends, dissecting our relationships, eating cheese and crackers and discussing our current makeup faves. However – and I can’t speak for ladies everywhere, here – we’ve never expected our friends to cancel their plans to attend.

Unfortunately, the term ‘whipped’ seems to have replaced the expectation of common courtesy in modern relationships. If a guy has to decline an invitation to ‘after footy drinks’ because he made plans to have dinner with his girlfriend’s family, it’s because he’s ‘whipped’. Not because he has clear values and expectations of his relationship, but because his girlfriend ‘made him’.

This makes me especially angry – because no matter how sweet and understanding your man may be, there’s always the chance that this social ribbing might get the better of him, and he’ll bail on you just to save face with the boys. Which is 100% NOT okay.

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It seems to me that it’s not so much an issue if your guy has other mates who are also in relationships. Because those mates – they’re the ones who get it. Maybe they just want to go home to their girlfriend and enjoy microwaved popcorn and a movie, too. But when the single friend comes along, unencumbered by a pesky girl – chivalry and courtesy glance longingly at the window, tempted to throw themselves out of it like an empty jello shot cup at a party in winter.

Once, twice or three times, you might be okay with this phenomenon. Guys need guys, after all. But, if you find yourself struggling after being repeatedly accused of ‘whipping’, here’s my advice:

  • Tell your man you need to talk to him about something. Reaffirm that he’s not ‘in trouble’, you just have some stuff on you mind.
  • Explain how his actions, or those of his friends, make you feel. He’s not a mind reader. Are you feeling angry? Upset? Hurt? Abandoned? Horny? Forgotten?  Regardless of what he thinks about how his actions affect you, you are entitled to your own emotions. So feel them, wholly and truly.
  • Reiterate that your not trying to control his life. You’re not seeking to ban him from seeing his friends, or tell him what he can and can’t do. But he needs to understand that since he chose to be with you, you ARE a part of his life, and he needs to take that into account when making plans – especially if those plans involve friends that are jealous of your relationship.
  • Explain that you do have certain expectations from him, be it rocking up to your parents house for dinner, always making time for date night on a Thursday or always attending ‘plus one’ celebrations together.
  • Most importantly, tell him that if anyone ever calls him ‘whipped’ again, it’s okay for him to say that he loves and respects his girlfriend. And nobody in the whole damn world – not his mates, not anyone- needs more explanation than that.

MJ x

Image creds: Modelsblog, Hellobeautiful

Bonita’s alarm went off at three thirty the next morning like always. She kicked off her covers and sat up quickly, shivering in the cold, early morning air. Patrick stirred sleepily from his rug next to her bed – he hated the early starts. Bonita could see stars twinkling outside her window – the lack of cloud cover that night meant that it had literally almost dropped to freezing temperature outside.
“Sorry, buddy.” Bonita yawned, swinging her legs off the bed and heading for the bathroom, “Girl’s gotta hustle.”
Patrick grumbled.

As Bonita stood under the hot water, steaming up the bathroom, further damaging the peeling, black-and-white wallpaper her elderly landlord had installed in the mid-seventies, she closed her eyes and began her morning mantra.
Yes you can, yes you can, yes you can, she repeated over and over with her eyes closed, massaging cleanser into her face. Yes you can, yes you can, yes you can.
Bonita has started this ritual several years prior, when she’d first moved to Sydney from her sleepy little hometown across the country. She’d received a phone call mid-shift at her local organic food store, where she’d operated the checkout and replenished diminished stock levels, informing her that she had been accepted into the media program at a prestigious Sydney university. She’d calmly thanked the course coordinator, hung up, taken off her horrid green-and-yellow striped apron and quit on the spot. She’d called her chauvinistic pig of a boss a string of highly unpleasant names that she’d been banking up for two years, turned on her heel and walked out of the store to a round of general applause.
As she massaged her one hundred percent botanical body scrub into her shoulders, she grinned to herself. Her parents had been furious.
“You did what?!” her mother had screeched that evening at dinner, when Bonita announced she’d quit her job. Her mother rarely yelled. It was quite a sight to see a four-foot-nine woman clad in a lilac-and-lemon print floaty sundress, holding a steaming bowl of coconut milk steamed tofu and screaming like a banshee.
“And I’m moving to Sydney,” Bonita had added, ladling steamed homegrown beans onto her plate.
“Oh, no you’re bloody well not,” her father had declared, his bushy moustache blowing a-hither and thither above his tye-dyed orange scarfe. “Not on your life. Towering metropolis of scum, it is.”
Bonita’s father deeply distrusted the media and any form of ‘capitalist propaganda’ – his worst nightmare was Bonita running off to go and work for a commercial television station.
“Yes, I am, and I can,” Bonita had replied calmly. “I’ve been accepted into a media program at a University there, and I’m going. I’ve saved enough for my whole first years’ rent and living, and you can’t stop me.”
Her parents hadn’t spoken to her for a week, which was quite a feat for a couple whose prominent belief was ‘heal with love’.  They had, however, arranged an intervention by the means of a local astrologer, with whom Bonita had had a towering argument with before slamming the door in her face.
It wasn’t as though Bonita didn’t love her parents. She did, very much. But they were simple folk, with no real idea of what life in the real world was all about. They lived in what was well considered to be a ‘hippie commune’ across the other side of the country, where barely anyone even owned a television and nobody set their sights on anything beyond a local band’s recent successes, or the trash ’n’ treasure market held every two weeks at the local Scout hall. They simply could not understand that Bonita dreamed longingly of more for her life, and that was precisely the reason that she hadn’t told them that she’d applied for the University course in Sydney six months prior.
Bonita didn’t see her choice to move away as a disrespect to her family. She loved them; however, she knew she was capable of more than they believed her to be.
Despite all the assurances to herself that she’d made the right decision, it hadn’t been long after she’d arrived in Sydney that she’d begun to feel slightly homesick. There was something disconcertingly comfortable about her parents crocheted-and-thrifted flat. She’d missed her mum’s fresh herb garden that overflowed from the kitchen windowsill into the sink, and her father’s tangy aroma of dope and ethically-sourced coffee grounds. It was during a out of such loneliness that she’d noticed an advertisement on a noticeboard at her local shopping centre – Great Dane puppies for sale -  and returned home that night glowing with happiness as Patrick the puppy sniffed curiously at her thrift store furniture and crocheted throw cushions.
After that, life began to chug along nicely. Bonita settled into University; she’d even been on a few dates before deciding that she wouldn’t be bothered with a boyfriend until she’d graduated at the top of her class. She took on an unpaid internship during her first year of study, progressing to a part-time paid position in her second year of study. She worked nights at a local bar, existing on only a few hours sleep in each in between two jobs, full time study and other jaunts of work experience where possible. It had all paid off, however, when upon graduating she was offered a proper position at the station she’d been with for the previous four years.
She was highly motivated, exceptionally successful and proud of her accomplishments. And, she remembered somewhat smugly, towelling herself off quickly and pulling on her waxed black jeans, she’d done everything her parents had never thought she’d be able to do. She’d done it all on her own, without help.

When she arrived at the station and switched on her computer, she found an inbox full of enquiries and forwarded mail from the receptionist. She sighed, and went into the kitchen, which was dark and empty. Flicking on the lights, she walked over the the espresso machine and switched it on. She glanced at her week-and-a-half old manicure – the olive green polish was starting to chip. She was never bothered with doing anything for herself during the week – it would have to wait until the weekend.
She topped up her mug with soy milk and walked back to her desk. This was her favourite time of day – she was completely alone, focussed, determined to clear her emails before Jacinta walked in in an hour’s time.
Bonita typed away furiously as people started to trickle into the office. She barely stopped to say good morning to anyone, but her colleagues were used to it – everyone knew not to bother her until after Jacinta walked in. Bonita liked to capitalise on the time that her boss wasn’t around, fixing up all the clerical nonsense before the first edition of the morning news went to air at five am.
Bonita had earned herself a bit of a reputation around her work place. It wasn’t that people thought she was rude or unkind – she’d just made it very clear when she’d first arrived at the station, nineteen years old and with everything to prove, that she valued little else in her working life other than to be taken seriously. She knew that she was good at her job, and what others before her had lacked in ambition, Bonita made up in a solid work ethic and no-nonsense attitude. All the men around her age in the office beheld her with an attitude of simultaneous disdain and admiration. In short, they were absolutely terrified of her.
“Bonita!”
She looked up from her screen a couple of hours into her day, Jacinta towering over her and waving a wad paper around as though batting off flies. She was already in a filthy mood after having realised one of the interns had failed to notice a particularly vindictive comment left by a viewer on the station’s Facebook page, resulting in three hours of back-and-forth with legal and the ethics committee.
“Marvellous. Top notch stuff. Good work.”
“Thanks, Jacinta,” Bonita replied, taken aback, tucking her hair behind her ear. “I wasn’t sure if-”
“This is Dale,” Jacinta interrupted, dragging somebody into view.
Bonita’s immediate thought was that he looked like he’d just come from some sort of Indie grub fest at the dingy, local pub down the street. Dale was wearing a paisley blue and green shirt, buttoned to the collar where a crooked black skinny tie was knotted. His slim-fitting camel trousers were rolled up at the cuff, exposing well-worn brown boater shoes and orange socks. His hair was unkempt, hanging in ludicrously shaggy, sandy-coloured curls around his ears. Topping off the whole look was a two inch gingery beard and an orange flower that he’d pinned to the lapel of the shirt, which Bonita noticed had something that looked suspiciously like tuna mornay attached to the left sleeve. He smiled hopefully.
Bonita stared.
“… going to be with you tomorrow and all next week, he’s doing a placement for his final year of study. Are you even listening to me, Bonita?” Jacinta barked.
Bonita gazed up at her boss, her mouth hanging open.
“Oh, for the love of- here, Dale, take this chair and dump your gear. I’ll show you around,” Jacinta said, pulling over the usually empty chair next to Bonita’s desk and setting it two inches next to Bonita’s own seat. She grabbed Dale’s arm in what Bonita knew to be a vice-like grip and steered him away, leaving Bonita in a state of stunned silence.
Bonita’s phone rang. She answered in a kind of shocked daze.
“Hello?”
“It’s me,” Tinky’s sing-song voice came down the line. “Just reminding you about Friday – the gallery opening. Talullah’s organising a cab, we’ll pick you up at seven, so be ready, okay?”
It took Bonita a few seconds to catch up.
“Wha- oh, right. Yes. Yeah, that’s okay. I’ll be there.”
“Are you alright?” Tinky asked, shrewd as ever.
“Yeah, I- Tink, I have to go, I’m-”
“Really busy,” Tinky finished. “No problem. Talk to you later.” She rang off and Bonita placed her phone back on her desk, taking deep breaths. Jacinta was wheeling Dale all over the office, barking introductions and gesticulating wildly.
Jesus, Bonita thought, this will be good.

*

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