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Friday, May 30, 2014

The Manicare Precision Blending Sponge - A Dupe for the Original Beauty Blender?

My beloved Priceline had one of their famous free postage and double sister point promotions on ANZAC Day only. So, as any normal person would, I took advantage of their generosity.

$80 and two weeks later, I arrived home from work to my glorious haul waiting for me. The thing I was most excited about receiving, was the Manicare Precision Blending Sponge.
I've heard great things about the famous Beauty Blender, and was contemplating whether to get one or not. It, at the time, was not available in Australia and if I were to buy one overseas, it would have set me back $40-$50 AUD, and I just couldn't justify that. So when I came across this look-alike for only $8, I HAD to give it a try..

I've been using this for about a month and so far, I like it. You can use it wet or dry, but I prefer using it damp; not because I prefer a sheerer coverage, I actually like full coverage, but because I feel it disperses foundation/concealer way more evenly that when dry, and because the sponge itself is quite porous, it sucks up a lot of your product. I literally use twice the amount of foundation I usually would, which is a huge downside for me. Using it wet minimises this as much as it can and the finish of the foundation isn't at all dry, or cakey as it can be with a brush.

The egg shape of the sponge is great! The narrow tip makes it easy to blend around the nose/eyes and the round base is great for larger areas on the face. I wouldn't say it applies my foundation "flawlessly", but I quite like the finish it gives. In terms of how it goes in application, it takes a while - longer than it would using a brush and I have to use twice the amount of product I usually would. I think there are a few reasons for this. Because I'm using the sponge damp, the foundation is sheered out slightly so it's best to squeeze out and dry as much of the water as possible. I also feel as though the sponge is a tad too firm, especially when dry, which could be a contributing factor when it comes to blending quickly. So yes, it does require patience to blend and apply the foundation, but the result is definitely worth it. Where a brush simply buffs the product over the skin, a damp sponge really blends and melds the product into the skin without any streaking.

Overall, I've enjoyed using this for applying my foundation because of the lovely finish it eventually gives when wet. However, I didn't like using it dry. At all. I just felt it was too firm and a lot of my product went to waste. I guess I would say I was pleased with the results this little purple sponge gave me and for an $8 purchase, it does a fairly decent job.

It's a nifty cheaper alternative with a great shape, but is this a miracle dupe for the real thing? Online reviews and my own personal experience with the Manicare sponge, unfortunately say not. I'll definitely be giving the proper Beauty Blender a try if it promises better results as it's now available here in Australia.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The 41 Best Things About Being A 'Basic Bitch'.

So, my best friend got in to a fight with a crazy-assed girl who we shall call "Peggy-Sue" for purpose of this story. Because that's the ugliest name I could think of, without using profanities.

Disregard last comment if you're named Peggy-Sue. It's lovely.

Anyways, this Peggy-Sue, in the midst of a drunken screaming match at my wide-eyed best friend, hurled the insult 'basic bitch' her way. Basic bitch? BASIC BITCH?! It really got to her. I had to be on the phone, at 1am, consoling my now bawling, drunken best friend who should never go out without me again. Ever. 'Of course nobody thought this of you, how preposterous'. But then I realized, every modern twentysomething woman does #BasicBitch things and pretty sure, they're all fucking great. Embrace.

1. Instagraming a photo of your coffee cup because the Starbucks person spelled your name wrong.
The more mispelled it is the more hilarious it is. Like my friend Amy, who's name really is simple enough to spell correctly by even the most incompetent of Starbucks employees, recently uploaded a photo to Instagram with the caption '"AIMEYEE" = LOLLLLL.'

2. Owning Ugg boots and not giving a fuck about how everyone's supposed to hate them.
Shit is comfy — what else are you supposed to wear to pilates in the winter? Who has time for shoelaces? #no

3. Displaying a picture of you and your best friend in a frame that says "friends" at the top.
With a little heart over the "i".

4. Refusing to make any other plans the night the latest dystopian teen thriller has its first midnight showing.
And talking loudly to all in your presence about how you're going and expecting everyone to acknowledge how SILLY you are.

5. Sharing a carefully selected #tbt photo.
Slash participating in #tbt just generally.

6. Sharing the results of a BuzzFeed quiz.

7. Wearing yoga pants anywhere other than yoga.
You got up and put your white jeans on for brunch, I rolled out of bed and put on something comfortable and forgiving and I look ***flawless.

8. Only writing the word ***flawless with the three stars before it.
Because Beyoncé. LOL.

9. Ending sentences you type with LOL.
Bonus points for LAWL

10. Having Coachella FOMO.
Because you didn't get to go but you follow all the fabulous people on Instagram who are there and at the same party as Kendall Jenner.

11. Making it to Coachella and wearing a crown of fake, plastic flowers.
No one wants REAL plants in their hair. Nature, ew.

12. Redeeming a coupon.

13. Wearing leggings as pants.

14. Still being obsessed with Sex and the City.
You're the Carrie of your friend group.

15. Using Pinterest to plan your wedding when you're not even engaged.
Because if you see a barn that just says "ME!" there is no point in WAITING to pin it.

16. Acting like you don't even know what "basic bitch" means.

17. Sharing a photo on Instagram of your hands with trendy nail polish and dainty rings all over your fingers.
Many tiny rings worn at once is the new hotness. (They're not NEW new, but you know what I mean.)

18. Owning a friendship bracelet.
Or a Livestrong bracelet. Or any non-metal type of jewellery.

19. Wearing a hairband on your wrist.

20. Losing the hairband on your wrist and then borrowing one from a girl at your office.

21. And when she gives it to you acting like it's SUCH a sacrifice for her, and OMG is she SURE?!

22. Displaying a Breakfast at Tiffany's/vintage Vogue cover/Le Chat Noir print as prominent art in your apartment.

23. Going to a sporting event with your face painted and/or wearing an outfit entirely in "your team's" colours.

24. Complaining about how your entire Facebook feed is filled with baby/engagement announcements.

25. Owning a bedazzled iPhone cover.
Because if it's not sparkly it's easier to lose. #basicbitch #protip

26. Using hashtags in non-Twitter or -Instagram correspondence.
Because hashtags just sum up the most basic points.

27. Saying "hashtag" out loud.
"Girl, that dress is SO hashtag OOTD."

28. Participating in #OOTD.

29. Having tracks from Glee on your iPod.

30. Having tracks from Frozen on your iPod.

31. Declaring, in all seriousness, as though it is breaking news, "I'm OBSESSED with Greek yogurt."

32. Refusing to eat hummus with anything but baby carrots and/or other veggies.

33. Borrowing someone's HBO Go login.
Because what's the point in paying for something when you don't have to?

34. Getting highlights.

35. Asking your followers on social media if you should get bangs/dye your hair.
Difficult decisions like this must be crowdsourced.

36. Posting a quote of something you said that you know is very wise as your Facebook status.
People who are not in your physical presence should be in the loop on all your witticisms at all times.

37. Using more than one emoji at once.
The monkey with the air coming out of its butt is always funny.

38. Having a crush on a teacher/boss/someone else in a position of authority to you.
And telling your friends about how "weird" it is that you feel that way but "obviously" you'd "never act on it."

39. Using the word "literally" in a meaningless way. Literally.

40. Flipping your left hand when "Single Ladies" comes on.

41. Using "put a ring on it" in the context of things that have nothing to do with getting engaged.
Like, "Girl, are you going to just order the breakfast burrito? Put a ring on it!"

I personally, do about 60% of this shit. Eat your heart out, Peggy-Sue.
How about you?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What Losing My Best Friend Has Taught Me About Time.

As most of you know, I witnessed my best friend's death, five and a half years ago in a drunk driving accident.

How long is five and a half years? It's both an incredibly long time and no time at all. It's such a short time that I can still picture her perfectly, the silly faces she sometimes made while dancing, the way she always answered the phone with a cheerful, “Hey, lady!” But it's such a long time, too, that I can hardly explain how I made it from there to here.

There's this thing that happens lately in my dreams. Alyssa shows up and explains why she's been gone for so long, and the explanations are always outlandish and always make perfect sense in the moment. Then she asks what she's missed, and I don't know where to start. There is so much time that needs to be filled in, so many questions that need to be answered. Just bringing her up to speed with the current music charts would take hours. “Drunk in Love”, five seasons of Pretty Little Liars, a friend's engagement, another friend's pregnancy. New jobs, new loves, travels, breakups, and some really amazing, terrible horror movies — always our favourite shared guilty pleasure.

But most of all, the seemingly short time that's passed seems like forever when I compare how different I am today from the person I was the day she died. I was 15 then, and now I’m turning 21, but it feels like the difference would be better measured in decades. The year after Alyssa's death was the most difficult of my life. I spiralled. I did things I'm ashamed to this day to relive. The guilt I felt for having survived that night, while my everything just lay lifeless beside me was seemingly unbearable. There was a lot of sobbing in the car while listening to music she used to love, a lot of sleepless nights replaying every conversation I'd ever had with her, wondering whether I did the right thing in each interaction, however small.

I have hurt more than I ever thought I would survive. I've cried so hard I gave myself nosebleeds. I have learned to live with the deepest regret and sorrow I've ever imagined. I feel older, and I look older, sometimes I wonder if Alyssa would recognize me if she saw me today. But I'm also definitely stronger. Not the way people say a bone is strongest in the place it was once broken. This is not a question of healing. My best friend is gone, and there will never be enough scar tissue to fill that hole. But I've learned that I can live with the hole, and that is a kind of strength.

I can also see how fast time has moved when I look at the people who were part of my life in late 2011 and the people who are part of it today. After high school, I drifted away from many of my oldest friends, but since Lyss died, I've found my way back to some of the people that I loved in my youth. This is no compensation for what we have lost, but realizing the importance of holding onto people from my past has been another source of solace.

The opposite is also true: I've learned to cut people out of my life whom I am better off without. Alyssa could never say no to anyone who needed her, anyone who was hurting, no matter how much pain she was in herself or how much worse they were making it. Sometimes I wonder — if she had put herself first more often, would she have gotten in that car? Might she have been able to identify that although this guy was upset and needed us, he was in no condition to drive and refused to be passenger with him in such a state, rather than the unremarkable consequence of working constantly to take care of everyone around her? The regrets I have for Alyssa and the time she wasted on people unworthy of her kindness — I don't want to have those regrets for myself.

In all these ways and more, time moves forward drastically after a crushing loss; leaps instead of steps, growing pains you sometimes wonder if you'll survive. But still, there are days when time crawls, when the well-meant proverb, “Just give it time,” feels like a curse. You ache for the future to hurry up and get here, for the day when you wake up and your heart doesn't break, but when it arrives, you look back and see how far you've come and the distance hurts just as much. Sometimes I picture the journey in physical terms, as though Lyss and I were walking down a road side by side, until one day she sat down and never took another step, but I had to keep moving. I can see the road that brought me from where she is to where I am, but I can't ever retrace those steps.

More than anything, losing someone you love makes you think harder about every moment. It makes you feel the weight of things, even something silly like a song or a fashion trend, when you know that each one of them makes the world slightly but irrevocably different from the world she knew. It makes you treasure the moments that will never come again, and hope for the ones that will or could. It's hard to live with the certain knowledge that you are always transforming into someone unfamiliar to both yourself and the people you used to know and love, but the only other alternative is to dig your heels in and refuse to change, ever, and that becomes untenable very quickly. All I can do is try to welcome the future while honouring the past and hope that if she could see me, Alyssa would be proud.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Your Perfect Imperfections

Women can be so hard on themselves when it comes to their appearance. We find the need to wear a ton of make-up, lose a certain number of pounds, get implants, the list goes on. The truth is, we are beautiful by being imperfect. It's what makes us unique and what makes us who we are. Do we consider them imperfections because we believe that or is it because someone told us they were?

One of the things I've struggled with for a long time was my nose.
Ugh. My random ass, bumpy nose, which is the result of me being my classic clumsy self, and running in to a wall when I was a child, breaking it.

I was teased for years throughout school, and I probably would've never even considered plastic surgery if I wasn't constantly teased about it. Now, being my older, more mature self, I've learnt to accept it. It's a part of me and is what makes me different. No surgery needed.

Whatever imperfections you have, discover the beauty that comes along with it.
The reason we may not like certain aspects of ourselves, is usually because it's different from most people, not because there's something wrong with it. These things correlate with our inner beauty and once we learn what that beauty is, we can connect the two and will learn to appreciate them.

Beauty is the opposite of perfection, it isn't about having a pretty face.
It's about having a pretty mind, a pretty heart and most importantly, a beautiful soul. Discover your inner beauty, and you'll learn how you're beautiful.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My Month on Instagram - April.

I seriously love Instagram; It's definitely my favourite form of social media - the perfect outlet for posting inspiration and little snippets of life, and seeing what my favourite bloggers & friends are up to.

There's so many times those Instagram posts never make it to my blog (which is a shame 'cause I consider myself quite the photographer), and I've always loved reading Instagram posts, so I've decided on a new monthly blog series: My Month on Instagram.

So, here's my Instagram April:

Mmmm. Dem fresh nail feels.
I think this is my favourite design so far. Huge props to Opal Nails for doing such a great job!

Fairy bread. 'nuff said.

I can't believe I'm finally off my P Plates and on to my full licence and without any traffic offences!
Mwahaha. If only they knew.

My favourite lunch spot.

I may or may not have bought some shoes.

Just boyfee being cute. He does alright sometimes.

This is probably my favourite post of the month.

I was just a little bit excited to see the sun after weeks of miserable weather.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram: @christieee__x so can check out everyone else's posts!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Blog Appreciation: Top Style and Fashion Blogs.

I have been blogging for just over a year now (oh my!), and lately my blog has blossomed.

I love stumbling upon new blogs, and it has been an absolute pleasure hearing from my new readers', and reading up on all your posts on beauty, fashion, recipes and just random life shenanigans.

This handful of fashion blogs, however, have really stood out beyond the rest.
I've found myself browsing their blogs daily over the past few months and have thoroughly enjoyed reading and taking inspiration from their latest style and fashion posts.

So without further a-due, here's my top five fashion blog countdown: 


Lauren from La Petite Fashionista



Noor over at Queen of Jet Lags

Kayla from Not Your Standard


and finally, my current #1:
Anissa's Fashion & Beauty by Anissa

Jen over at Knots and Ruffles
- She's adorable, and I couldn't stick to five.

These have been my go-to blogs of late for style and fashion inspiration.
Not only are these ladies gorgeous, but they really know their stuff so do yourselves a favour and check these blogs out. Seriously.

Link me your favourite style & fashion blogs in the comments, I love discovering and follwoing new people!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Hair Wash Diary; Kicking Bad Habits.

I've been conducting a little experiment lately of how many days I can go without washing my hair.

Re-wind a few years, I used to wash my hair every three days.
Growing up does weird shit to your body and things got kinda cray cray. Fast forward now to year 10, I was one of the oh-so-lucky ones who didn't get break outs or acne, instead, all that grease that was supposed to go to my face, decided to go to my hair. I found myself washing it every single day without fail, even though I knew it was a such a bad thing to do. I was just so concious about even the slightest oily sheen, and I've found it to be such a hard habit to get out of.

My hair, of course, got used to this routine, and over-compensated for my constant stripping, but producing a butt-load of oils so I was pretty much forced to wash it every day. But at the start of April (Yes, I've literally been doing that shit for six years), I slowly started to skip days and keep track of the progress. In only one months time, I'm so impressed with the state of my hair. It's been such a short period, but I'm amazed with the results.

Week 1: Washing every second day
This first week was disgusting. So. Very. Disgusting. Oh lawdy.
But it was to be expected really. Even going just one day without shampoo, I was a terrible, oily mess.

Week 2: 
Still washing every second day, but there's a definite improvement in my hair.
It doesn't look oily on days I haven't washed, and I'm loving all these styles I can do with "day old hair".

Week 3: Back to washing every third day
Already back to where I started in just three weeks, and my hair seems to be growing so much faster! Even though I haven't washed it, it still looks healthy, rather than dull and heavy like it once did.

Week 3+: Washing every 3-4 days!
This is where I'm at now, and where I intend on staying.
I'll wash every third day, but I can go a whole four if need be. Of course I have to use dry shampoo when I get to the day three mark if I'm brave enough to go another, but I can't help but notice how much happier my hair is because of this.

There are only certain shampoos & conditioners I can get away with whilst going so long in between washing, as much as I love my volumising options, sometimes they can leave a heavy feeling to my hair. The Garnier Fructis Oily Roots, Dry Ends shampoo and conditioner combo is my best friend right now; they leave the hair squeaky clean without drying or rinsing any colour away. Even though this pairing offer nothing overly special, they leave my hair so soft and shiny and my volumising styling products seem to work so much better too, and they're super cheap!

My current dry shampoo of choice is Batiste Light & Blonde, just lightly spritzed and brushed through my roots; It absolutely saves my fringe! It works so wonderfully, and smells pretty to!

I'm so glad I didn't give up in that first disgusting week; my hair feels sooo much healthier. Letting my hair getting a little greasy and work with its natural oils has done me and my locks the world of good. You should give it a go, ladies. Your hair will love you for it!

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