Because all we see is ugly, when what we really should be seeing is how beautiful everything is.

Advertorial: Surging ahead with Open Universities Australia

grad01

Graduation seems like so long ago now. It feels like an age since I last walked down through the hallowed halls of my university. I look back on my graduation photos and marvel at how young I was. By the by, they were taken by Jimmy America, and he did a pretty darn amazing job, if I do say so myself.

Important things to note (after all we are a beauty blog): Napoleon Perdis in South Yarra did my makeup. This many years on, I can actually see huge flaws in this look. For starters, I have tiny eyes. Where’s the liner to reshape my eyes and where’s the step to balance procedures to balance out my less-than-perfect features? Also, where’s the filling in of brows? Tsk tsk.

Anyway, as I was saying, graduation was a darn long time ago. I was many KGs lighter, both in weight and wisdom, and definitely much poorer. But learning never ends, and I believe that it is important that we realize and acknowledge that we are learners and students for the rest of our lives. Especially as a teacher, I am aware of that fact and my childhood dream of pursuing a PHD still burns bright while I go through my day-to-day working life now.

I recently started a course at Media Makeup, a Cert II in retail makeup and skincare. I have also started browsing through a few local universities as my itch to learn once again flares up. But it wasn’t until I started teaching distance education students myself that I thought hang on, I could do a new undergrad course, or maybe even complete my PHD online. So I googled a little and up came Open Universities Australia. This might just be my answer!

grad02

Now, we all know I’m a teacher. I’ve never made any attempts to hide that fact and I’m quite proud of the fact that I’m a teacher. But do I want to be a teacher forever? The teaching industry is an incredibly soul-breaking, tears-inducing industry and I always believe in having backup plans. Open Universities Australia says it best with its recent campaign: “your best days are ahead of you.”

So, a PHD in Music Education or an undergrad in something else? I must admit, that while it is highly tempting to pursue my childhood dream and finish up my PHD (she says it like it’s so easy), I have always wanted to learn more about writing as well. But picking a new course to study is like being a child in the candy shop. I want to learn everything!

How about you? Have you ever thought of exploring further studies online? I have to admit that I didn’t even consider it at first. As mentioned, it only crossed my mind when I started teaching distance education students myself, and now that I’ve started looking into it, the possibilities are endless. And it doesn’t matter what your ENTER score is (or whatever score it is you use in your state), because Open Universities Australia provides open entry (no ENTER score required) for its undergraduate degrees and even provides preparatory units to help you understand academic requirements.

Of course, I am also concerned over the money. While my wonderful parents very generously supported me in my early years, I cannot rightly ask them for more money now. I was pleased to note that there is access to HECS and FEE-HELP, which means there is a higher chance of me being able to access it (I mean, I couldn’t possibly have started my cert II at Media Makeup without the help of Skills for All.)

So, what should I do? Writing? Finish up my psychology degree? Maybe further my Japanese studies? The possibilities are endless, and really they form my insurance and backup plan if ever this whole teaching gig goes pear-shaped.

Interesting thoughts. I’d love to hear yours!

grad03

Fresh Flowers – adding colour to your life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s really hard to find time to blog these days. Life is so full and colourful, that the last thing I feel like doing at the end of the day is sit down in front of the computer. Sometimes, I don’t even have the energy to. My computer sits in the corner and languishes.

But in the midst of all the Christmas rush and cheer, I felt that I had to share this. If only this, in time for the Christmas season. I’ve discovered something recently – I’ve discovered the joy in having fresh flowers at home.

I’ve always been one to poo-poo the idea of having fresh flowers at home. I thought they were a waste of money, they die and then you have to deal with either drying them or clearing them up. What’s the point? But for a recent bloggers meetup at my house, I purchased some beautiful fresh flowers to help with food styling and decoration. The leftovers were popped into a make-shift vase and they not only stayed alive for another 4 weeks, but they also added a gorgeous spot of colour to the house. (Not that my house really needs the ‘spot of colour’, anybody who has visited can attest to that!) I caught myself marveling at how long they stayed alive for, and found that contrary to my belief, I actually quite enjoyed having fresh flowers around. Who would have known?

So when Freshflowers.com.au offered to send me some for my housewarming, I found that I couldn’t say no. I found myself craving for another hit of these floral goodness, so I said yes, and in came the most gorgeous-looking flowers ever.

There is a certain joy in receiving the flowers at the door. There is a smile and a laugh that leaps to the face when you inhale the floral goodness, and the schoolgirl giggle that escapes as you pull off the card stuck into the bouquet – who could it be from? Even if you knew who it was from, the joy does not pale.

You can call me a convert. Ever since that first bouquet, I am now constantly on the lookout for flowers to decorate the house with. It brings in life and outside smells (good ones only!), and makes me smile when I look at them. I’ve started considering investing in vases, and jumped with joy when I found gorgeous flowers that didn’t cost the earth at the Gepps Cross Sunday markets. But I do definitely still secretly hope that I get another knock on the door, with a deliveryman holding a big bouquet of flowers for me.

I think, perhaps, that pure schoolgirl joy, the one that goes: “Oh, is that for me!?” just doesn’t get old. Or maybe it’s just that I rarely receive flowers from anybody. Don’t be as ‘generous’ as my boy. For Christmas, why not get somebody a beautiful bouquet?

Fresh Flowers sent me a bouquet for my housewarming. I willingly stuck my head into it to inhale the floral goodness. I do not believe that any of that beautiful scent has addled my brain, so I do believe all opinions are my own.

Cosmecology: Hair washing has never been this green.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hola! Did you miss me? I disappeared again, whoops.

But here I appear again, bearing an humble offering in the form of a review. A review that has been a long time coming, but in light of the upcoming Adelaide Beauty Conference whose theme is: Beauty with a Conscience this review is even more important that it be shared now, right now.

Did you know that it’s been many months since I let my fingers fly across the keyboard in such a fashion? It feels liberating, and I question why I let so much time slip by before I sat down to blog again. But then I do know why, and if you followed me on instagram (username: berrytravels), you would know why too. It’s because of my new house! Which… is a tale for another time. Back to the post at hand.

I have a growing respect for Mother Nature. I have always loved the beauty that surrounds me, but more recently, I am growing increasingly aware of just how much destruction mankind is bringing to our planet Earth. Cosmecology Paris was born with an awareness of this, and believes that the future of mankind lies in respecting and preserving our beautiful surroundings, mother nature and our planet earth. Preach.

And just so you know, I was provided with these products for review.

Before getting into the product performance itself, here are some reasons why I like Cosmecology:

  • Their packaging is designed with minimalism in mind – minimal material for packaging, maximised efficiency.
  • Their packaging is also recyclable.
  • They do not test on animals.
  • The active ingredient is plant-based, not synthetic nonsense concocted up in a lab!

Gold star!

But there are many products out there that tick the environmentally friendly box that doesn’t actually perform well. And at the end of the day, I want to use products that actually work well for me. What’s the point of using something that is keeps my moral ethics happy but does nothing for my hair?

The shampoo and conditioner that I received was for dry hair (like mine!). The shampoo contained shea oil while the conditioner contained jojoba oil. It also contained coconut extract which has hair nourishing properties and is easy to rinse. And to combat the dry hair, they also included Pro-Vitamin B5 which is a hair moisturising and regulating agent.

For the ones who want to know, Ingredients:

Reference: 22113001 / 22113101
INGREDIENTS: Water/Eau (Aqua), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Decyl Glucoside, Glycerin, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter Extract, Fragrance (Parfum), Glycol Distearate, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Hydroxypropyl Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Polyquaternium-7, Sodium Chloride, Panthenol, Propylene Glycol, Laureth-2, PEG/PPG-120/10 Trimethylolpropane Trioleate, Citric Acid, Cocamide MEA, Laureth-10, Triethanolamine, Hexyl Cinnamal, Disodium EDTA, Benzyl Salicylate, Benzoic Acid, Benzyl Benzoate, Citronellol, Magnesium Nitrate, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Magnesium Chloride, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Tocopherol, Methylisothiazolinone, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides Citrate.

So performance wise:

  • The shampoo is fantastic. I feel as though you can really just use this on its own.
  • The scent is pleasant and not repulsive. Big plus.
  • The conditioner is a tad too heavy. I have dry hair but still felt that the conditioner was too heavy, it made me feel really weighed down.
  • Once I stopped using the conditioner, my hair felt amazing!
  • That shampoo – so hydrating, so good.

Of course, your hair condition would be different from mine. Their shampoo and conditioners also come in ranges suitable for oily hair and coloured hair. Haven’t tried those yet, so can’t tell you how they work.

So all in all, would I repurchase? Yes, but just the shampoo. It feels a bit like the shampoo already has conditioner built in, which could be awesome if you are budget conscious (and aren’t we all?). Maybe use the conditioner too if you have really, really, really dry hair? Either way, I think Cosmecology is a definite buy. Add it to your cart next time you see it!

Buy Cosmecology online via Westfield: add to cart now!

Disclosure: Products sent for consideration

Advertorial: You have been given a challenge – will you accept?

So… ‘fess up. How many of you actually go about doing day-to-day things without makeup? Do your makeup days outnumber your non-makeup days or is it the other way around?
For me, my non-makeup days actually outnumber my makeup days. I am fairly confident with my skin and while I do suffer terribly from a terrible self-image, it is not my face that worries me. Of course, having good skincare helps. And I’m glad to say that for the past few weeks, Clearasil’s Vitamin and Extracts Daily Wash has proven itself worthy of joining the ‘Good Skincare’ list.

If there’s one thing I have learnt on this journey of mine, it is that everybody is pretty. We are all pretty, in our own special way. And such prettiness is not something that can be taken away from us. But regretfully, there are many who do not recognize the value of such natural beauty, and that is when the layers and layers of makeup start piling on.

Don’t get me wrong, I love makeup. If I didn’t love makeup, you wouldn’t be reading this blog now. But I sincerely believe that makeup should not rule your life. There should be an equal amount of makeup days as there are non-makeup days. So I thought, why not show you just how I look without makeup on?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s me looking all derpy with the rather gorgeous PZ. No makeup.

clearasil04

Here’s me again, at Morialta Park doing a morning walk. Again, no makeup.

clearasil05

And then, here’s me again with Sherry, just camwhoring in the car as we usually do. No makeup.

I love my no-makeup days. They feel amazing. You not only get to sleep more (as you don’t have to spend all that time putting makeup on), but you also get to do less cleansing afterwards as you don’t have to scrub hard to ensure all pigments are off. And hey, I’m lazy.

But really, this is what I truly believe: you do not need makeup to be beautiful. You do not need makeup to be gorgeous. You just need to be you, and with a little help from good skincare, you can definitely feel just as gorgeous without makeup as you do with makeup, with the outside matching the glow that is coming from within.
So here’s the thing, I’d like you to show me your non-makeup faces! Just take a #FOTD as per usual, but without makeup! Can you do it? I hope so, because one of you will be winning a Style Wardrobe Audit (worth up to $300) to help you improve your confidence and look your best when out and about, just for going makeup-less with me!

Competition

Your task: Take a photo of you without makeup, going about your everyday life. Share the photo with me by linking it in the comments. Then tell me how you felt without makeup on. Was it scary or was it liberating? Would you go for more no-makeup days?

This competition is open to all Australian residents and will end on the 15th of July. For the full T&Cs, please refer here.

Experiencing Guinot’s Hydraclean Facial – 30 minutes for a new face!

I’m not new to the world of facials. I’ve done quite a number now, but it wasn’t till this year that I started really paying attention to what facials do for me. Like, really do.

I used to think facials were a bit of a fluff. A waste of money. Why would you want to pay a small fortune just so somebody else could wash your face for you? But the truth is, facials are not just that. It is a lot, a lot more. After experiencing the Guinot Hydraclean facial, I can definitely tell you that facials have won me over and with a good facial, it is worth every cent.

Let’s talk a little bit about Guinot. Guinot is a French skincare brand with a name that I often forget how to pronounce. Founded in 1963 by Rene Guinot (a chemical engineer!) , it found its way into my heart sometime last year. I was especially enamoured by their spray on sun-screen, which I will be telling you all about, once summer gets here again. (But if you really want to know, don’t wait for my tales, go buy it! They are amazing and can be found here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Anyways, I digress. Back to the facial.

Sometime ago in May, I was invited (along with some of the other Adelaide beauty bloggers) to learn more about Guinot and to experience the hydraclean facial. This is a deep cleansing treatment that is touted to give you clear and radiant skin in just 30 minutes. Big claims, so we were here to put it to the test.

Our venue host for the night was AJ Skin Consultants and I was quite taken by the quaint little cottage the salon was based in. Inside, it was cozy and quite serene, which is befitting for a beauty salon. Take note of the names, ladies! For if you are after a Guinot hydraclean facial, this salon will soon become your best friend.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Onto this miracle facial.

The facial is a 2 step treatment. Namely:

Step 1. A deep cleanse using a thermoclean electrode heating up to 42°c to stimulate deeper into the skin, this is used in conjunction with guinot skincare products specifically selected to suit your skin.
Step 2. A massage which aids drainage and restarts the skin micro-circulation. The massage is carried out with a serum which contains Allantoin and Witch Hazel Extract.

It sounds simple, but really, there are many steps to the procedure. I was amazed by the amount of care and detail my therapist for the night, Laura, went into. She was gentle and made sure that I was feeling at ease all the time. Much care was taken as well to ensure that the heat of the electrode at 42°c was not too hot for me to handle. The entire experience was really quite blissful and even with all the girls crowded around my bed staring intently at my face full of pores, I felt quite relaxed!

And for the curious cats playing at home, the reason for the heated thermoclean electrode is so the sweat glands are activated and triggered into a state of hyper secretion. This allows for the pores to be cleaned and toxins to be gotten rid of. The heat also aids the treatment products and allows deeper penetration. This results in clearer, brighter and a more hydrated skin. And all this happens in 30 minutes. Whoosh!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m going to put it out there right now, I was skeptical. The hydraclean facial is a 30 minutes facial, what exactly can be achieved in that 30 minutes? Miracles don’t normally happen to me, so I was skeptical as to whether or not I would see a difference. After a day’s worth of work, my skin looked the way I felt, tired, rough and ready for bed. If there was a good time to really test out the limitations of the facial’s capabilities, this would be it.

I feel a little like one of those chefs on cook shows: “And after 30 minutes, you open the oven door and ….”

But in this case, it’s not the oven door being opened, nor is it a cake being baked. It is my face, being cleansed of its dirty toxins and breaking free fresh and radiant – or did it? See for yourself:

guinot04

To say I’m enthralled is an understatement. 30 minutes later, and my skin has emerged a new person. It was visibly more radiant, cleaner, and I positively glowed. The hydration was unmistakable, and my skin just looked so plump and bouncy, much like a baby’s bottom! And it wasn’t just me who saw the difference. The other beauty bloggers present all expressed their disbelief at the 360° change my skin had gone through. Apparently my skin could look alive, who woulda thunk.

So, ladies, if you need a quick pick-me-up, forget the booze and the coffee. Hop into AJ’s and get yourself a Guinot Hydraclean Facial. It will be the best lunch break you ever had. Seriously.

AJ Skin Consultants

64B King William Rd
Hyde Park South Australia 5061
(08) 8272 6999

Facial experience provided for consideration – no monetary compensation was given in exchange for my rambling words.

Advertorial: A portrait and me, the Clearasil way.

I am a big believer of being confident in yourself. But I am probably also the biggest hypocrite there is. I preach, but I find it hard to practice what I preach. Confidence in your own looks is something that I find really hard to obtain – especially because we are our own harshest critics.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you will know that I have been on this journey of self-discovery and learning to love oneself for as long as this blog as been running. Every day is a journey, every day I learn a little bit more about myself. Some I like, and I file away for when I have days of self-loathing; some I hate and file away never to be brought out again.

Working on this Clearasil campaign has gotten me thinking again about the core values of this blog. Remembering that this blog is about becoming beautiful through confidence in oneself, the Clearasil campaign strongly pushes their belief that the products will be able to ‘give you the confidence to go for it every day’.

I don’t think we, as the nit-picky women (and perhaps men!) would say no to that. At least I know I don’t. But here’s the kicker. I know many ladies who say that Makeup is what gives them the confidence to go forth in their every day-today life. And certainly, since I began learning how to use the beautiful paints and pigments, I have began hiding behind it and building it into my biggest armor.

So Clearasil set me a challenge: To have my portrait painted while I am without my biggest armor: Makeup.

It was not without trepidation that I sat down to have my portrait painted. You can strip me of my armor; but you cannot strip me of my weapon. Over the past week or so, I had been using Clearasil’s Vitamins and Extract range to clean and prep my skin. If there was any chance of me looking good in this portrait, then this was it!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Luckily, Kate (the artist) was an amazing lady. She was quick to put me at ease, and admittedly being drawn in your own living room did mean that I felt quite comfortable very quickly! Still, I was dying to see what was going on behind that sketchbook and had to resist the temptation to peek many times.
What did she come up with? Well, you will have to wait, just like I did.

Meanwhile, here’s a giveaway for you. 5 lucky readers will be given the chance to win the Clearasil Vitamins and Extract Daily Wash. All you need to do is answer this question by the 28th of June:
Please note competition T&Cs

Do you think using a daily wash such as Clearasil Vitamins and Extract Daily Wash will enable you to put your best face forward and have the confidence to face every day?

Advertorial: Clearasil Vitamins and Extract Daily Wash

Every day, there seems to be new cosmetic products popping out into the market. There are new press releases zooming into my inbox every day, and I see promotions for new products on the shelves every time I go to the shops. To be honest with you, I’m not quite sure how to keep up. I kinda do, thanks to the press releases in my inbox, but truth be told, I am feeling somewhat overwhelmed, and start to wonder: Do we really, need all these products to clean our skin?

The answer is yes. The reason why so many products are being introduced to the market every day is because somewhere out there, there’s always still another woman who is trying desperately to find the one cleanser that will be the answer to all her skin problem. And hopefully, this time, Clearasil has the answer.

I have to admit, I’m not a big Clearasil user. I have used the Clearasil Perfectawash before (which I still use to this day, as I really quite like it!) so I figured there was no harm in giving the new Clearasil Vitamins and Extracts Daily Wash a go. I mean, hey, what’s the worst that could happen from using natural fruits like avocado and pomegranate, right?

clearasil01

The Claims

There are 3 key things that Clearasil would like to have me know about this facial wash. They are:

  1. This is a wash that will make your skin glow.
  2. This is a wash that is aimed at those who like to work hard and play hard, for those of us who have very little time and yet want amazing skin.
  3. This is a wash that will enable you and me, regular everyday women, put our best faces forward every day.

Early Impressions

  1. It contains Avocado & Promegranate. Yum, both fruits that I love to eat, I know that Avocado is really good for your skin, so that’s already a huge plus.
  2. Because of the Avocado & Promegranate extracts, it smells amazing!! The scent is quite gentle, non-offensive and very fresh smelling.
  3. The creamy texture is a dream to work with. It goes on like a dream, and I adore the non-abrasive texture of the wash. Another tick.
  4. I hate the packaging. There, I’ve said it. The tube packaging is good, that part I like as that’s quite sensible. But the diagonal lid..? Ooh, that bugs me so much as it’s quite hard to get open. In fact, I’ve struggled with it so much that there are times where facial wash squirts straight across the sink the minute I open the tube as I am exerting so much pressure in trying to open this tube. Argh.

What I’m going to do:

  1. As usual, I’m going to test it out for you. Does it make my skin glow? We will see.
  2. Will it enable me to feel confident every day? Only time will tell.
  3. I will be putting it through its paces, and whipping it hard, that’s for sure!

So stay tune! P/s: It’s kinda nice to be blogging again!

Fitness: Walking Morialta Park

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I have been really trying to get fitter recently. I’m tired of being envious of other girls who seem to power on in the gyms. So for the last few months, it has been a lot of walks in the parks, 2.4km runs, daily workout videos…

I am 6 days from finishing my 50 days of exercise bet with the boy. We have a challenge going on right now that involves me doing daily exercise for 50 days, or lose 50 bucks. If there’s anything else I love more than food, I do believe that would be money. Not because money can buy happiness, no sirree. But because money can pay my bills. And that in itself is a contented type of happiness.

So far I have done…

  • 1-2 hour long walks in Morialta Park, Granite Island Walk, Para Wirra Recreational Park.
  • The entire 30 day shred by Jillian Michaels
  • A couple of days of the Fithoop DVD with the 1.5kg weighted Fithoop
  • The first week of Ripped in 30 by Jillian Michaels
  • 2.4km runs
  • Rock Climbing

Since starting exercising daily, I can now do:

  • Tricep Dips
  • Military style push ups
  • Jumping lunges
  • Run for 400m before having to slow to a fast walk to catch my breath

Weight loss: Zero. (Daily intake based around a 1200 calorie diet)

Sigh. Guess I will just have to keep on going!

Rundle Mall Autumn / Winter Showcase : Outfit of the Day

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rundle Mall recently held an Autumn / Winter showcase and being a fraud of a fashion enthusiast, I dutifully trot myself down to Rundle Mall to see if I could learn how to style myself somewhat better this season.

My outfit was the product of a wild wardrobe tear through, punctuated with “I have nothing to wear!” and pleas of help aimed at the fashion savvy Sherry. She ended up piecing this together, and sent me off along with a pair of her ankle boots, only to see me pulling funny faces on Rundle Mall.

Once an idiot, always an idiot?

I am wearing…

  • Lava legs from Black Milk
  • Black tank top from Cotton On
  • Black sheer shawl from some shop in Melbourne
  • Arm party from Diva
  • Bag from Taobao
  • Boots on loan from Sherry

I still can’t believe I wore something that wasn’t a skirt or a dress to an event. *throws hands in air*

Road to Confidence: Be Fresh from Be. Winery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

bewine04

Remember this look?

I decided that I just had to try the one that looked the most-out-there first as I was feeling particularly adventurous yesterday. Plus, looking at the style cards just got me thinking of those Limecrime eyeliners I got an age ago. Experiment time? Why yes, sirree!

It just so happened that Sherry was around as well and there is nothing more relaxing than spending an afternoon with your girlfriend pretending to be makeup artists. She went for a more natural and effortlessly beautiful look, while me…. well. See for yourself.

bewine05

I used:

  • Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
  • Urban Decay Naked Palette
  • LimeCrime Liquid Eyeliner in Citreuse and 6th Element
  • Tony Moly Liquid Black Eyeliner
  • False Lashes from Eylure (can’t remember which style)
  • Jane Iredale Purepressed Blush in Barely Rose
  • Innoxa Lovely Lips lipstick in Passionflower

Okay, granted, it is really quite different from the original inspiration. I actually think that this look is quite wearable if you left off the orange eyeliner from the bottom eye. What do you think? Would you try it?

If you’d like to try it, remember that there is a video tutorial that I have embedded above that can guide you through the step by step of the look. Truthfully, I didn’t follow it. I just went nuts on my face, as you can see.

I also didn’t use any foundation as… well… I really don’t use foundation or BB creams anymore. /lazy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Have a glass with me, and let me know what you think!

Check out Be Winery! Wine provided for consideration, I was not paid to play with makeup. (Would be cool if I was!)