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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Friday Finds

Here are a few of my internet finds (and loves) from over the past week:

\\  How amazing do creamy white wine zoodles sound?  //
\\  I cannot get enough of these DIY galaxy candy apples!  //
\\  A DIY coffee & black pepper eye mask may be the most necessary thing I've seen all week.  //
\\  These DIY Spring pom-pom sandals are exactly what I want out of life.  //
\\  Let's combine my two favourite foods and make tomato & halloumi bake!  //
\\  Yes to everything about this DIY lace-up sweatshirt!  //

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Getting a U.S. haul to Australia with myMallBox - A review and a discount for you!

As an Australian beauty blogger who's favourite brands all happen to be American, I am no stranger to the perils of the international online shopping. There honestly is nothing worse than adding a bunch of lusted after products to your cart, only to checkout to discover that the company doesn't ship internationally, or just not to Australia. Rude. Or how about those companies that do ship internationally, but charge a ridiculous price (often more than doubling the value of your purchase) to send your goodies to you. Story of my life.

 So when I was contacted* by myMailBox, a mail forwarding company that allows you to buy online from American stores and get your goods shipped to just about anywhere in the world, and given an account credit to try out their services, I simultaneously died and jumped at the chance to add some long lusted after items to my collection. If you're at all interested in signing up with myMallBox after reading this post, definitely do so via my referral link which will give you a $5 credit to go towards your first order's shipping cost!

Now, I pride myself on being someone who thoroughly researches just about everything before I jump in, so I spent a good couple of hours researching various mail forwarding companies before even agreeing to try myMallBox, and I actually found them to be the cheapest forwarding company that I came across. Not only are they located in Delaware, a sales tax free state, but creating an account is also free of charge. In fact, aside from the shipping costs (obviously) and the Buy For Me feature that I will discuss in a moment, the whole process does not cost you a dime. There are literally zero hidden, activation, monthly, membership, holding (before 90 days), repacking, you name it fees. KA-CHING!

Once you register, you are assigned your very own U.S. postal address, a suite number in their warehouse, then you get to shopping. Once you're ready to check out, just enter your myMallBox postal address and when your products arrive, you will be emailed to let you know. From this point, you can choose to either ship the products to yourself immediately, or if you've ordered from multiple sites, wait for everything to arrive and consolidate everything in to one package to save on postage.

The Buy For Me feature that I mentioned above is a service in which the myMallBox team will (you guessed it) place an order for you. This is particularly handy when it comes to sites that do not accept international payment. myMallBox will order your items for you and hold it at your suite address until you arrange for it to be shipped on to you. This does incur a service fee of 3% of the total value of your order + $4.50, which again, was the cheapest fee I had come across.

A note that I would like to make about Buy For Me, and this is by no means the end of the world, is that if you are using the buy for me service, you will miss out on any points redeemed as the orders aren’t on your own account. I suppose it's quite a redundant statement to make, because if you can't place an order due to the store not accepting international payments, you can't accumulate points anyways, but it's worth a mention (sort of). As for the free samples that we all love to receive, the myMailBox team will also include these in your order, as well as use any discount codes that you may have, but you must specify when completing the Buy For Me comments section.

You are also given multiple shipping options (DPS, ULP, USPS, tracked, untracked, express, etc.) and costs are based on the size and weight of your package/s (check out their shipping calculator). Just be mindful of tax, duty and customs charges when you shop online from overseas. I'm lucky enough to live in a state where I have never had to pay customs charges, but this differs from country to country so be sure you're prepared, just in case.

myMallBox will store your package/s at your suite for free up to 90 days, after which your account will begin accruing a $1 per day, per package fee. After 120 days they will liquidate the contents.

My experience and what I got:

Setting it all up was a simple process and my experience with myMallBox as a whole was a positive one. Aside from a few companies cancelling my order due to their own policies (read below), the whole process was as smooth as can be. The most enjoyable aspect for me, was the free consolidation service. I touched on it briefly above, but basically, to save a ton on shipping, you can opt to have everything consolidated, or re-packed in to one, cost effective package. By disregarding the often full-of-air-and-packing-peanuts box your order arrives to their warehouse in, unpacking your items and re-wrapping them safely in bubble wrap, you save sosososo much in shipping fees by reducing the size and weight of your order.

If I have one tip to share in regards to using a mail forwarding service, it would be to purchase enough products to qualify for free American shipping to avoid paying postage twice. It's common sense, really.

I placed orders at Too Faced, Sephora, Benefit, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Tarte and Ulta. This is where I encountered a problem or two. You see, upon checking out at both Ulta and Too Faced, I discovered that they do not accept international credit cards or PayPal accounts. This is of course, no fault of myMallBox, but it was disappointing nonetheless. MyMallBox does have a solution to this problem in the form of the 'Buy For Me' option that I mentioned earlier. I could have gotten them to do that for me if I really wanted them to, but I ultimately decided against it in this particular instance. Tarte and Sephora also cancelled my orders as they do not deliver goods to mail forwarding companies.

Lesson learnt: check the seller's terms and conditions before placing an order.

After all of that, I ended up with my Benefit and Anastasia Beverly Hills orders coming through. I waited for them both to be delivered to my suite and consolidated it all in to one small package which happened in under two days. I was not notified that my consolidation was complete, however. I'm unsure whether this was just a slip-through-the cracks type instance, but I was pleasantly surprised to log in and discover that my goodies we're ready for me to ship. My consolidated package was roughly 600 grams, and I (stingy life) opted for the cheapest tracked option. There was a cheaper untracked USPS airmail option which would have cost me $6.58 buuuut I decided against a non-tracking service for peace of mind. My parcel ended up costing $12.73 to ship via a tracked USPS ePacket service from America to Australia, which was much cheaper than I expected. For reference, Anastasia Beverly Hills wanted to charge me $17.95 to ship two products to me, whereas with myMallBox, I got a whole four items (and two samples) sent to me for a few bucks less.

It took about three and a half weeks for my consolidated package to arrive from my myMallBox suite (keep in mind that I did not opt for express delivery) and everything arrived accounted for and in perfect condition:

Benefit Dream Screen
I mentioned this is a beauty favourites post (read for my full review) at the start of the year. I've been using this amazingly mattifying (read: non-oily!!!) sunscreen for a while now, but it's unavailable in Australia so I'd been paying a lot to get this daily use bottle to me. I'm so glad I found a cheaper way to get it to my door.

Benefit Ka-BROW
After being so impressed by the Benefit brow products I got in my recent Adore Beauty haul, I decided to pick up Ka-BROW too. This is available in Australia, but it's much cheaper in the States. I also wanted to qualify for free American shipping by adding it in with my Dream Screen order. I absolutely cannot wait to give this a try!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade
A cult classic that I've been dying to try! I have far too many brow products these days, but after years of lusting over this pomade, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity.

Anastasia Beverly Hills liquid lipstick 'Alison'
I've heard a lot about Anastasia Beverly Hills liquid lipsticks, so I couldn't resist giving this a try. The pinky-plum brown colour looks a little different on me than I imagined, but the formula is amazing! So long lasting and non-drying. More to come for sure!

Benefit Dew The Hoola Bronzer sample
I've heard so many different opinions about the Dew the Hoola liquid bronzer. I'm a huge fan of the original Hoola bronzer so I can't wait to try this for myself.

Benefit Dandelion Dew sample
A pretty pink cream blush that would be perfect for a barely-there Spring look.

Despite my haul being less than half the size that it was originally supposed to be, I'm more than happy with what I got and I will definitely continue to use myMallBox for all of my U.S. shopping needs - a Nordstrom haul, perhaps? Again, if you are an international shopper yourself, and are thinking of ordering from the Unites States, please feel free to sign up to myMallBox via my referral link which will give you a $5 credit to go towards your first order's shipping cost. For full disclosure, I also receive a $5 credit for every person who signs up using the above link. 

Will you be giving myMallBox a try?

*I was asked to publish an honest review of my experience on behalf of myMallBox in exchange for a small fee and a shipping credit on my account, however, all comments and opinions expressed are completely my own. I would never promote anything to my readers that I do not 100% believe in.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Finds

Here are a few on my internet finds (and loves) from over the past week:

\\  Could somebody please make me a thousand rainbow frosted twinkies? Thanks.  //
\\  These gold drip nails are more than everything to me right now.  //
\\  This rainbow marbled ice cream recipe is what my homemade dreams are made of!  //
\\  Aren't these DIY gradient soap bars pretty?! Yes. The answer is yes.  //
\\  How freakin' good do coconut ricotta pancakes with strawberry syrup sound?!  //
\\  This DIY disco ball hanging planter is too fun for me to handle right now.  //

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

My Month on Instagram - March 2017

If you've been following Christie's Take on Life for any amount of time, you'd surely know by now that I'm a major lover of Instagram! It's the perfect outlet for posting inspiration and little snippets of life, and seeing what my favourite bloggers and friends are up to.

There are so many times that my Instagram posts never make it to my blog, and that's a damn shame because I consider myself to be quite the photographer..

..Not really, but it's a shame nonetheless!

Instalife over the past month looked something like this:

My cousin got married over the Labour Day long weekend so we opted to stay at a hotel in the city. Perth's views are beautiful, let me tell you.

I want to know what brand of bedding hotels use. I had the best night's sleep that night (and a terrible hangover the next day). 

Lady Latte in Scarborough, fellow Perthies, is absolutely amazing. I'm not just saying that because I know the chef, I'm saying that because that's where THIS beauty came from.

Remember that time when I made it my goal to find a pumpkin spice latte in Perth? Well mission accomplished! BOOEspresso is where it's at, guys.

Even though it was still a good 28 degrees Celsius that day, I was too excited to finally get to rock a blanket scarf during the appropriate season, seeing as we're in the beginning of Autumn.

My favourite hot chocolate ever comes from the cutest coffee shop in The Swan Valley, a 30 minute drive from my house. It's such a beautiful area, it's hard not to make a coffee run in to an adventure.

Did you see my recent Adore Beauty haul (with a cheeky discount for you)? I don't think there's anything better than coming home from work to a beauty parcel waiting at your doorstep.

How about my Priceline haul? I may have gone a little overboard with the online shopping lately. Or not. It depends who you ask. ;)

After last instalment's embarrassing lack of posts, I think I nailed the mini post-more-often-challenge that I set myself over March. Here's to the hopes of continued consistency over April!

I love finding pretty new feeds to follow on Instagram; leave your account deets in the comments, or come find me: @christieee__x!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Friday Finds

Here are a few of my internet finds (and loves) from over the past week:

\\  Can you think of a better party appetiser than spinach and artichoke pull apart bread?  //
\\  Lets all make giant peeps marshmallows and love life.  //
\\  Look at how pretty these DIY crystal soaps are! LOOK!  //
\\  These Easter "fried egg" pavlovas are all I need in my life right now.  //
\\  Raise your hand if you cannot deal with this DIY kitty rice heat pack. *raises hand*  //
\\  Please, please, PLEASE make me a beach pudding cup.  //

Happy Friday (and happy Easter)!

Monday, April 10, 2017

March 2017 Beauty Favourites

One: Garnier Miracle Skin Cream
I wasn't sure what this actually did at first; the bottle has almost no information on it. I started using it as a moisturiser, then as a primer. After a little experimenting, I've deducted that this is basically a BB cream with a little SPF. It has shade adjusting pigments that do not offer a whole lot of coverage, and it doesn't hide imperfections but does blur them to an extent so it's great as a base for foundation or for those "no make-up" days. The reason that this made it on to my favourites this month, is because of the way my skin feels when I wear this. My face feels sosososo soft, smooth, firm, youthful - I can't help but constantly touch it, and it is super soothing on reddened or sensitive skin AND THE SMELL! It has the most beautiful rose scent, which I absolutely love. It claims to be anti-ageing over time, too.

Two: Nuxe Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm Rêve de Miel*
I've mentioned so many times on the blog that I live in a constant state of dry lips, so I like to think of myself as something of a lip balm expert. This balm intrigued me with it's claims to nourish, repair, soothe and protect even the driest and damaged lips - ka-ching! It's super nourishing thanks to the goodness of honey and Vitamin E, is so long lasting, leaving my lips feeling soft and hydrated for a good chunk of the day. It's super thick, so I prefer to use it at night, although on super dry days, there's nothing that compares to the way that I feel after I slather it on. It smells wonderful, too - a sort of sweet, citrus-y scent which is so revitalising.

Three: Benefit Gimme Brow*
I think I'm about the only person who didn't immediately jump on the Benefit brow collection bandwagon. but I've been using this daily since my Adore Beauty haul. The medium shade matches my colouring so nicely and the waterproof formula is perfect for my full-day-of-work-followed-by-a-gym-session lifestyle. It's pretty damn smudge proof once it dries (and it dries fast), and I absolutely LOVE the fibres that attach themselves to the skin and hairs. They create such a textured, natural looking fullness whilst also helping to keep unruly hairs in place all day.

Four: Australis Liquid Strobe Illuminating Drops
I'm all about a good highlight these days.. I'm also all about the cream highlight and contour products, so this new addition to Priceline's stocks really piqued my interest. Now, you're either a fan of cream products, or you're not, so I understand that this may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I'm really enjoying these. I picked up both shades - pink and gold and although I think I prefer the gold offering on my skin tone right now, they're both beautiful! I know that some cream products can accentuate any texture your skin may have. I, myself, do not have much (if any) texture so I cannot attest to how these stack up in that regard, but I will say that they have such a light, smooth texture that makes blending a dream. They're so versatile in the way that they can be applied to be blinding, sheered out to a luminous glow or mixed in with foundation to create an all-over glow. I'm such a fan of the little dropper, too! About 3 drops spaced over the tops of my cheekbones is more than enough to satisfy me.

Five: AESOP Geranium Leaf Body Scrub*
This was free sample that came with my recent Adore Beauty order that quickly turned in to a favourite of mine. This body scrub (although I really only use it on my legs, knees and elbows) is a gentle mixture of milled pumice and bamboo which exfoliates the skin beautifully, soughing away dry, dead skin without scratching or damaging the skin.. The ingredients act to calm, purify and disinfect the skin. It's a wonderful for the weekly deep-cleanse, or to use after shaving to help avoid ingrown hairs, leaving my skin super soft and ready to slurp moisturiser right up.

What beauty products or brands have you been loving lately?

As always, this post has not been sponsored in any way, meaning that none of the items mentioned have been sent to me, endorsed or paid for by anyone other than me, myself and I. This post does, however, contain affiliate links. Feel free to find and purchase the products mentioned elsewhere if you don't get down like that. :)

I will always disclose such information with an asterisk (*) for full disclosure to my readers.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Friday Finds

Here are a few of my internet finds (and loves) from over the past week:

\\  This boho-esque "romantic" braid is to-die-for.  //
\\  You can't get more basic than DIY Snapchat filter Easter eggs. I'm basic and I cannot lie.  //
\\  I'm going to make polenta "porridge" with berries and honey errday of my life from now on.  //
\\  Let's combine my two favourite things for DIY avocado Easter eggs!  //
\\  These pink bunny pancakes are the cutest thing I've ever seen!  //
\\  Can you think of anything more Spring than this fruit salad with poppy seed, ginger and lemon juice dressing? 'cause I can't.  //

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

March Look Back and April 2017 Goals

A look back at my March goals:

Buy more furniture
"Our house is going up fast. While we are in no dire need for furniture right now, my organised self is not satisfied with the few bit and bobs we have ready to go. I'd definitely like to add some more pieces to our stash this month."
Tick: I didn't really have high hopes for this one, but I'm glad that we got a few more items ticked off the list for our soon-to-be home.

Eat better on weekends
"I do so well to eat right during the week but as soon as the weekend rolls around, that all goes out the window, which I'm 100% sure is why I'm not reaching my weight-loss goals. I'd like to completely eliminate all weekend take-out meals and unnecessarily snacking on junk food all month long. Sorry Jesse."
Cross: Oh boy. I didn't just fail this one.. I failed miserably. Oops.

Find a damn pumpkin spice latte
"In case you didn't see my mood board, we've just entered Autumn here, and I'm sad to admit that in my 23 years of life, I have never experienced this "pumpkin spice latte" thing that I see plastered around the internet come Autumn in the US. It's just not a "thing" here in Australia, but I'm determined to find one this season. DETERMINED!"
Tick (!!!): You guys! I'm so damn happy that I've finally got to sample the deliciousness that is a pumpkin spice latte. Well, a pumpkin spice chai latte, but that's the same thing, right? The best part of the story: the place that sells this elixir of life (the only one I've found in Perth) is a 3 minute walk from my office. WHAT?!

Learn how to use my camera's manual settings
"I have seen post after post after post about how much better photos turn out when you adjust the manual settings rather than leave it up to 'auto' to figure out. I've been interested in expanding my photography skills and knowledge for quite some time, but I'm usually in a rush (or can't be bothered) to nail out my photos and I constantly find myself falling back in to using the auto setting because it's that much easier. I'd definitely like to learn how to effectively use my camera's (Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1) manual settings this month and, in turn, improve the overall quality of my photos."
Cross: I think this is technically a fail.. I did do a whole lot of research online, instruction manual reading and fiddling around with my camera's manual setting, but did I learn how to use them? No, sir. No I did not. It all went straight over my head. Sigh.

Goals for April:

Commit to 1 hour of cardio, once per week
I've been committing to my hour long Thursday cardio session 2-3 out of 4 weeks of the month (in addition to my usual 3 days per week at the gym) for a little while now, and I've really noticed a difference in my appearance and fitness levels, but I'd really like to get it done every single Thursday this month. No exceptions. Now that I have the Zombies, Run! app (it's free and a great motivator - get it) on my phone, there should be no reason for me not to get it done.

Spring (Autumn) clean and sell anything unwanted or grown out of
I know this was one of my (failed) goals in February, but with the house build becoming closer to completion every day, I'd like to get rid of some bits and bobs from my closet and storage that I've either grown out of, no longer use or need, or just do not want anymore to make the move easier (and make some much needed moolah in the process).

Focus on finding a new job
I've enjoyed my time at this little accounting firm over the 6 years (holy moly) that I've been here, but since obtaining my Diploma of Events, I've found myself daydreaming about more. I, of course, am happy to stay here for as long as it takes, but I really want to get serious, knuckle down, and focus on starting a new chapter in my life with a job in Events Management.

Make more time for friends
Ugh. Just typing that out made me cringe. I feel terrible that I have to make this a goal, but to say that life has been busy lately would be an understatement. I've been turning down invitations to hang out and focusing my time and attention on our house more than anything recently. I definitely need to organise a few catch-ups with my friends soon.

What are you hoping to achieve this month?

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Friday Finds

Here are a few of my internet finds (and loves) from over the past week:

\\  I'm relaxed just thinking about these peppermint eucalyptus shower melts.  //
\\  How much fun (time-consuming, but fun) would DIY candy leis be?  //
\\  I can't get over these almost fully edible potted cactus macarons!  //
\\  Did somebody say s'more pizza?! I'm 100% in!  //
\\  How cute (and practical) is this DIY rainbow felt letter board?  //
\\  These DIY naturally dyed speckled eggs are too cool for me to handle.  //

Happy Friday!

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