Portable Makeup: What Do You Need in Your Bag?

So I’m still having trouble saying “purse” for handbag. It doesn’t make any sense to me. A wallet is a purse. A handbag is not a purse. Anyway – Americans feel free to read “purse” when I say “handbag”.

As always, when I say “need”, please take with a grain of salt. There are many days when I do not touch any of these items and just let my makeup take its natural course. But if you’re going out after work or if you really want everything to look as fresh as possible, I have some tips for you my friends!

First of all, I find it easier to use two small cosmetic purses (this use is fine btw) rather than one large, handbag clogging one. I tend to separate this into actual makeup items and “other”. This is all the makeup-related junk I keep in my bag:

I consider it to be pretty darn pared down, to be honest with you, particularly since I am usually a total garbage packerator.

So let’s get the non-makeup stuff out of the way. The “other” bag is actually one of a pair that I got sent by my lovely friend, Zoe, who got them for me from the Turrell Exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia. The other one is purple, and I keep my receipts and other important things in it (I have become a hardcore budget recorder!).

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So realtalk, I left a couple of things out of this picture because they were kinda scuzzy. I left out a little packet of mini tissues and some chewing gum. They were kinda not really relevant. Also I keep a little mini tube of hand cream in here (Soap & Glory Hand Food) but it’s empty and the label has basically come off completely and it looks groce. Sorry.

One thing I like about this bag is that it is REALLY rigid. It’s a thick rubberised plastic that does not bend easily so it keeps everything really safely. I love it!

It contains my travel size of Jo Malone London – Wood Sage & Sea Salt perfume which is hands down my favorite perfume everrrrr. If I’m going somewhere after work I always spritz a little of it. I also keep my favorite hand sanitizer in here – it’s the Soap & Glory Hand Maid one and it smells great and I have no idea how to get more.

My actual makeup bag I got from Forever New in Australia last year. I like stripes. It’s a faux leather type material. I like it for similar reasons to the other bag – it’s quite rigid and doesn’t flop around letting things bang on other things. Technical!

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So it has just the absolute essentials (IMO).

  • A mini mascara (this is the IT Cosmetics Tightline mascara, I have it in there because it has the secondary purpose of eyeliner!
  • A mini Sigma E25 blending brush – I use this to re-blend any creased eyeshadow that might have gathered during the day, and to add additional color if I need to (I would just pack the eyeshadow in here if I needed to).
  • My Make Up For Ever pressed translucent powder – it is great for topping up powder on the face which absorbs oil that may have fought through my makeup throughout the day, making everything look a little fresher. It came in a little carrying case which I really liked, it gives the powder some extra protection.
  • MAC Fix+ mini spray bottle – this is perfect for freshening up tired makeup. If you go overboard with the powder, it also does a great job of patting down any excess powder. It also feels amazing on dry skin, or when it’s hot, I really love this product!
  • A kabuki brush – it’s super super soft and helps me to add powder without disturbing the existing makeup too much. Some people might prefer a powder sponge – this is totally personal. I prefer the brush.
  • A small packet of makeup removal wipes. I won’t lie – the only time I’ve used these is in Montreal when shopping for dresses with my gorgeous friends Nathalie and her fiance Zac. A girl who was waiting in line for the changing rooms had her son with her and he got into her bag and pumped foundation everywhere. ME TO THE RESCUE I am so great.
  • Sephora Targeted Eye Makeup Remover Swabs – these are great for if things are just a bit messy at the end of the day. You snap the end off the little cotton bud / q-tip and it lets the liquid in the stem into the tip. It’s a clean, neat way to tidy up any messes or, you know, if you are trialling a new eyeliner and it turns out to be total garbage and you need to get it off your face, stat.

So that’s honestly it. I don’t go overboard. You could throw in some concealer, a mini eyeliner or something, a small eyeshadow palette or something and you’ve got everything you could ever need.

I have a few good ideas for posts coming up. I’m sorry that I’ve been so quiet lately but I’ve been happily lacking in inspiration – it’s totally fine to take a break from things you love (remember?).

Excitingly, I also have a guest post coming up for you guys! Stay tuned – and as always, your ideas, feedback and comments are all 100% welcome.


Travel Makeup – the Overpacker’s Guide to Trying Not to Overpack

I’m off to Washington DC next weekend for my husband’s college friend’s wedding. I’m really looking forward to it, I haven’t met a lot of Ray’s college friends.. or maybe any of them.. huh.. but anyway I have a cute navy dress and I’m ready to rumble. I’m having my makeup done on Saturday night for some drinks with my beloved DC area friends but I have to do my own (UGH!) Friday night and for the wedding on Sunday. So what the hell should I pack?

Well I’ll let you in on a little secret. I always, ALWAYS take too much dumb crap that I don’t even touch the entire time. I’m going to try, REALLY TRY, to slim things down but I’m also going to make a trip report and tell you guys what I decided wasn’t useful afterwards. So with no further ado let’s get into it.

First, check out my beautiful cosmetics bag…

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It’s SO BEAUTIFUL you can get this and others like it for $24 from Sephora

The boring stuff still needs to be packed. All this goes into a separate bag – it’s toiletries not makeup. Obviously. Ahem.

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This brings me to an important point. Sample sizes, whether “travel size” deluxe samples or actual sachets, are your friend. Above you can see that I have a few of those. Tbh, normally what I try to do is wash my hair before I go and when I get back but this is a three-night trip and that’s probably just a smidge too long or at least it’s a risk of being too long, especially as I’m getting my hair cut on Wednesday and I won’t want to wash it on Thursday night. You can get the little sample pots from places like Amazon – I think I got a 10 pack of the little containers you see above that I have moisturizer and makeup remover oil in for $6. Don’t try to fill these up. Just squidge out enough to use for the trip. The rest is just wasted as it’ll go crusty after awhile anyway.  Anyway this is just the basics, onto the good stuff.

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Another little container of primer here (just a small amount, remember!). Well, ok, there’s three primers but I’m kind of a primer nerd. I like to use different ones in different places. Recently when Sephora had a little cute sample kit of NARS product as a coupon code I snatched it up. I love the NARS Light Optimizing primer and we all know how I feel about the eyeshadow primer. So those both came out of the box and went straight into the bag. I had to fight myself to leave the Urban Decay setting spray out and put in the teeny sample of the Skindinavian one!

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Base & Face

A little (refilled) pot of the original sample I got of my favorite long-wear foundation, plus a little squidge of a light coverage daytime foundation for Saturday. My number 1 concealer, a setting powder that’s super flat (god I love that packaging), sample size bronzer and my beloved NARS Deep Throat blush (MASSIVE thanks to my lovely friend Megan who got this as a sample size and sent it to me!). I have a sample size of Orgasm but I just don’t like it as much, tbh.

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I chose the Revealed3 palette here because it’s light and flat, but I’ve since applied it as eyeshadow and it is pretty bad so I’m not going to take it. I’ll probably take my Stila Eyes are the Window palette even though it’s heavier. I jumped straight on a large deluxe sample coupon code with Sephora recently because it contained a tiny mini of my ride-or-die liquid liner, the Kat von D Tattoo Liner in “Trooper” as well as a mascara that I know my friend Mem loves, and therefore must be fab. I never pay for high-end mascara but I love getting deluxe samples of it! My trusty MAC Paint Pot in Painterly and Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze and I’m good to go. See how good I’m being?! lol.

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One crayon (mini size, thanks Ipsy!), one pomade, one sample size powder. Hooooboy that was hard but it’s ok you guys I got this. Pshhwwww.

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Ok this is where I fell down a little, I’ll admit it. I probably have too much. But I can’t help it. Lips are my thing! One red (with matching liner), one pink, one nude and a primer. I may add more. I’m not gonna lie to you guys, I swore I’d never do that. Speaking of which…

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I tried. I really did. But I need all o’ these. I can’t do the multi-use thing. It squicks me out. My one concession was blush and bronzer with the same brush, but that’s because I don’t wear tonnes of either. In fact I’m pretty impressed that I am only taking one foundation brush. Maybe I need another one. NO, STOP THIS… okay okay pshhwww ok I’m good.

What have I missed, do you think? Hair stuff is easy, I’ve got some texture spray and that’s pretty much all I ever use if I’m honest. I also have a little package of cotton pads, q-tips and a mini nail file plus some bobby pins and hair bands. Boring stuff.

So let’s summarize:

  • Store up your samples that you get from things like beauty boxes and online orders. I have two sample boxes – one for stuff to give away and one for things I want to eventually use. I raided that.
  • If you see a gift with purchase or coupon code etc with a sample or travel size of a product that you KNOW you will use, get it. They’re so handy, and it means you can leave them in the travel bag rather than unpacking every single thing and returning it to your stash.
  • If you’re decanting into smaller containers, just take a little at a time so it doesn’t get all gunky when you don’t use it all. So wasteful! You can always refill it for next time.
  • Just take things you are pretty sure you’ll use. I thought about taking my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette and my Kat von D Shade & Light palette but I’m still learning how to use them so I’m not going to bother – I know traveling is not the time for this nor is a wedding. End of story!

I’d love to hear if you guys have tips, tricks and pointers for me for makeup travel. After this I’m not sure we’ll be going anywhere until Chicago so that’s a long time to think about what I’ve done.

EDIT: I did a test pack of putting the stuff in the bags and it turned out GREAT, the bags are full enough but not overstuffed. OBSERVE:


Happy Sunday/Monday, lovers.


Life Stuff: What I’ve Been Up to Lately

I feel like I’ve morphed from the stage of needing to title these posts under “Moving to the USA” to just being a part of my life now. I’m settling in I guess!

Life has been SUPER BUSY lately, sorry for the radio silence, I’m sure you’ve all been incredibly upset and devastated without my rambling posts!

Today I just thought I’d do a bit of a combo post. Things I’ve been doing, eating, buying and wearing will all be talked about here, but I will try not to ramble too much!

We moved into our TINY (~300 square footage) apartment in Rutland, Vermont. It is actually great. The big drawback of it is that it does not have a guest room, or any appreciable room for a guest at all. So anytime people come to visit, we will need to find them other accommodation. This is really the only thing that makes this apartment not a long-term solution. The rooms (all 2 of them) are large, the kitchen has a large fridge and a good oven. The bathroom is tiny and the shower cubicle is … prison-like, but that’s okay. I wish we had a bath but what can you do. So furniture shopping at IKEA in Boston happened! We bought a bed (Brimnes in black with storage) and bed linen, a dressing table (Malm), a set of Alex drawers and some other small bits and pieces like a mirror and shoe rack. My parents-in-law so kindly donated us a little kitchen table and some chairs, and bought us a set of drawers and a hanging clothes rack. That’s really the max we could fit into the apartment before it got too crowded. A lot of you (who are my IRL friends) have already seen the vanity setup but here it is in all its amazing and beautiful glory:


Alex 5 drawer in the foreground, Malm dressing table. 


Drawer contents! Wheeeeee I have a (fabulous) problem.

If anyone would like to see more of our apartment or furniture let me know. It’s not that exciting to anyone apart from us; we have been doing the living with parents thing for quite a long time now (for me, 5 years, for Ray, since he moved to Australia which was March 2014) so it’s just so awesome to have our own space! Moving on…

One of the things that has been keeping me very busy is that I got a job. It’s with Planned Parenthood as a Health Care Associate which is mostly an admin/clerical position but also has some clinical work which I’m EXTREMELY excited about. That will come with time and as I master the front desk work which is my first area of focus. I love PP as an organization and I’m really excited to be a part of it.

Part of starting my job involved going to Burlington, “the city” in Vermont, for four days of training. First of all, what a beautiful city! It’s stunning especially in spring, though all of Vermont is just so beautiful and alive at the moment. We ate some good food – I re-discovered the amazingness of American bagels (last time I had one was in NYC with my friend Chris). I mean, look at this divine creation:


Lox & cream cheese on an “everything” bagel. Just stop.

We also went to a really cool old-school diner called Al’s French Frys for burgers, fries and shakes. I had incredible, unbelievable pho which really scratched an itch that had been bothering me since I arrived. It was.. a revelation. Usually I never finish huge bowls of soup but this time I scarfed it all and wished I had more! We went to Buffalo Wild Wings which was a pretty cool experience but all the wings we ordered were a smidge too spicy for me! I’m such a pansy.

Anyway, while I was at training and since I’ve been working, I’ve really been trying to get my neutral, natural makeup on point. I’ve been posting a lot on my Instagram about it and getting some good feedback so here’s some examples:

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Different light but you get the point.

I’ve been using and enjoying the Maybelline Infallible Pro-Matte foundation, it’s VERY good for a drugstore foundation. It’s obviously very matte so if you like something a bit glowy you will want to either skip it completely or add some glow back in, perhaps with something like one of the Hourglass Ambient Light powders.

Here are some less neutral looks I’ve been rocking as well. I haven’t been going crazy on eye makeup lately really, it just hasn’t suited the outings we’ve been on really! But I’ve been wearing a bold lip a lot, as usual.

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The pic on the top right is at Al’s French Frys – that decor! I LOV IT

I did some shopping in Burlington too, probably more than I should have, my poor husband was pouring sweat for most of the time. Bless him. So here are some haul pics from MAC and Sephora:

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Some of these products have been rocking my world. I regret holding out on buying the Primed and Poreless primer by Too Faced for so long because honestly it is phenomenal, I’ve never used a primer that worked so well. I am going to do a comparison between it and the Make Up For Ever primer that I got in a Sephora order in a future post, they’re meant to do a similar thing. I went to MAC and asked them for a bit of a bronzer tutorial and the lady who served me had gorgeous pale skin and she really was picking up what I was putting down – that a lot of bronzers seem orange on me or muddy. She said what I should do is pick a cool toned powder foundation and use that to warm up my face. She chose the MAC Mineralize SkinFinish Natural powder in “Medium/Deep” for me and hoooly crap, I just loved the effect SO MUCH. I also found that they’re doing mini products at their counters now so I grabbed a much coveted product, the pigment in Old Gold, in a mini version. Their pigments last forever so the larger jar has always seemed so pointless to me. I also got the 239 brush because I have a lot of blending brushes and not enough flat/dense application/shader brushes. It’s meant to be one of the best so I am looking forward to giving that one a red hot go. As you can see I also grabbed Charlotte in the NARS Audacious lipstick range, I actually wouldn’t have swatched this on my hand but for my husband pointing it out and saying “what about that one?” – a dangerous tactic for him I feel! I swatched it and was really impressed, it was more of a berry, dark red than the purple I thought it’d be so naturally I bought it. I’m wearing it, and the bronzer, in the third pic of the last set of selfies. NOICE.

When I got home, I had an order from Sephora waiting for me. I recently got bumped up to VIB level so I got some little sampley type things and, excitingly, a new Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 10 – Mandarin Muse. This is a very orange red which I am SO INTO so I’m keen as heck to try that!


I’m also very excited about trying the Besame brightening vanilla powder, I’ve heard such good things from quite a few of the makeup gurus on YouTube that I religiously follow plus the packaging is ADORBS. Check it!


You guys know how I feel about packaging!

So the last thing I want to mention is that I got a fabulous package from one of my favorite indie makeup brands, Baroque Cosmetics. Andi, brand / product creator, sent me a couple of samples (because she rocks and also because I guessed the name of a shade in the pressing process that she posted on Instagram!) as well as the products that I wanted so that was super exciting and I can’t wait to try them – I have a lot of the brighter and more bold colors from her range/s so I got some of the staple neutrals.


I love rose golds at the moment so Compass Rose (on its side) is SUPER exciting in particular. I think I will wear it to work tomorrow.

This brings me to my next point, and that is that I feel like I have a pretty significant collection of Baroque Cosmetics eyeshadows now so I’m going to do a mega-review on them. I have been wanting to do this for AGES but each time I feel like I was waiting on an order, so I have held off. I’m gonna do it though. I have opinions.

I’m also going to do a bit of a post about foundations. I’m a little nervous about this because I haven’t tried heaps and heaps of them but I do have a fair collection now, I have 8 so I will do a bit of a post about them and talk through the pros and cons of each one.

If there’s anything else you guys would love me to do a post about, please let me know, I love hearing your amazing suggestions!

Here are some random pics to finish off with. Spring in Vermont is beautiful as HECK!

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My “0.58 year anniversary” present from Ray – that man knows what I like!

Until next time – which I promise won’t be too far away!



Moving to the USA: Some Stuff I’ve Done!

Well, those of you who know me personally will know that the last section of my visa process did not go smoothly. I’m not going to go into detail here, suffice to say that it was absolutely no fault of our own and related purely to the lack of knowledge (regarding the department’s own processes) had by the person who interviewed me.

I still managed to leave on time, JUST, and the port of entry experience at LAX was actually delightful. Thank goodness. My official greencard has not yet arrived but my social security number has so that’s a really great thing, it opens a lot of doors in terms of things I can do and apply for etc.

Since I got here, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my husband and his parents obviously but we’ve also done some travelling in the local area, shopping, eating and all that fun stuff.

We went for a drive to Nashua, where I dropped into Old Navy and got some very ugly and comfortable fleecy trackpants for hanging around the house (I have barely taken them off to be honest). On the way there were all these awesome cliff mini glacier things which I thought were super cool looking, check them out:


Frozen waterfall?!

I also went to Sephora (I swear to god I can’t help myself but they had some things I wanted, and a very knowledgeable salesperson who talked to me about contour in a very sensible manner which I enjoyed) and picked up a few things, then to Lush which is why I was really there. I needed some Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner – I swear by this stuff as I have previously stated. It’s wonderful for those of us who are super slack with putting on body lotion when getting out of the shower. I mean, who really has time!? Not I.

After that we drove to Keene where I went to Ulta. Ohhhh my god, that place is HUGE and magical! It’s like a massive explosion of beauty, there’s high end and drugstore brands all in the one place. I loved it, and the staff there seems a little bit less snooty than the Sephora team. Sorry Sephora! But Ulta won out so far for me. A lovely lady helped match me with the new Urban Decay concealer (wait for my April faves for a full report on this one) and I definitely wouldn’t have picked the one she matched me with so that was a relief. Anyway, here’s a picture of my haul from that day:


Combined Sephora, Lush & Ulta haul

A couple of the above will also be featured in April favourites. I was particularly excited to see the Real Techniques bold metals range of brushes, I was proud of myself for choosing just one. The hype is right: it’s great and the handle is so well balanced. As you can see, I also grabbed another couple of the Kat von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks and the IT Cosmetics Tightline mascara sample which is SURPRISINGLY awesome, you guys! I heard the team member who ended up helping me raving about it to another customer so I had to pick up the mini version to try it out. I’m a sucker for a teeny little brush and this one is so small you can hardly see the “bristles”. Full review in April favourites for that one too.

After that we went to a for-realsies American diner, called Lindy’s. It was great, I mean, look at this!


Oh Lindy’s. You’re adorable.

We got incredible mocha java concoctions, which we are still talking about, and I got a delicious breakfast including pancakes (it was 4pm). Ray got oyster chowder and macaroni and cheese.



The next day was WINGS NIGHT at the local pub (we also went there for trivia on Sunday night and games night on Monday!) so I decided to go with a very smokey eye because hell it’s still basically winter here!


Also featuring L’Oreal True Match foundation, it’s good shit.

And speaking of winter it snowed out the WAZOO Wednesday afternoon / evening, well it was like 3 inches of snow which isn’t anything that amazing to New Englanders but I was totally fucking enchanted you guys! It was amazing and beautiful! On the way home Ray was pretty nervous about driving and we had to stop halfway so he could brush some snow off the back window. Wowsers it was serious business. I took some pictures the next day of the yard:

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Snow! Icicles! Magical!

Unfortunately I still had to take this monster outside to wee:


… but I only went as far as needed for her to make a lil patch of yellow in the snow.


Yesterday we went to Rutland, where we are actually going to live. It was a gorgeous drive along the Ottauqueechee River. We checked out a few apartments, some better than others, and we checked out an amazing gym. That was the find of the day. It has a Crossfit box but allows use of it by non-Crossfitters which is kinda rare so we were so thrilled. It’s a small but well equipped box, the best kind. The Crossfit box we went to earlier in the week was huge and well equipped as well but a lot more serious. One of Ray’s friends is a coach there and is actually going to Regionals so that’s super exciting! I PRed my front squat at 90.7kg (200lb wiew) there but the price for a short membership or even a casual visit was cost-prohibitive so we probably won’t go back.

Today at the co-op we grabbed some coffee and eggs and stuff so I can start eating a real adult breakfast (Ray insists on eating Lucky Charms ugh!) and I found some Vegemite – check out this price, I nearly DIED:


Pls don’t call it yeast extract ugh it’s so much more than that!

Tonight we are going to a supposedly-amazing burger bar and I think I’m going to try out the new Urban Decay palette I bought in LA. I will report back if it’s not a total disaster – I’m sure it won’t be. Burger pictures will also be forthcoming. Yay!

Thanks for reading.