Tuesday 31 March 2015

Bellabox | February 2015: Elle Magazine

"What the eff?" I hear you cry. "It is March 31st, and you've only gotten your February Bellabox now?!" Now watch me laugh with hearty embarrassment as I simultaneously mumble through an explanation about how I put it in a drawer for safekeeping and then promptly forgot about it.

(To be fair, I haven't received my March Bellabox -- although it's on its way -- so I didn't have a new box to remind me about this one.)

I received an email from Bellabox shortly after getting my January box that the February edition was going to be a collaboration with three different magazines, and all subscribers had the opportunity to get one of these boxes! The options were Elle, Cosmopolitan and Harper's Bazaar, and while I don't read any of those magazines, I decided based on the vague descriptions given by each editor that Elle might be the best one for me.

Bellabox February 2015

I'm not gonna lie, when I originally opened up this box, I wasn't blown away. I flicked through the magazine, but it really wasn't for me. The nail polish looked kinda neat, and the brand themselves seemed interesting, but one of the reasons why I think I forgot to post about the box was precisely because it didn't excited me.

Then, recently, I was watching some old YouTube videos and one of them was about a winter skincare routine -- and then it hit me: the February Bellabox was actually all about hydration. It wasn't something that especially drew me in, but I think these products will be great for the winter months, especially as the months become colder than the Ice Age.

The boxes were sent out based on when the magazine hit the stands; Elle was one of the last ones to come out, but I still received it about a week before February ended. Let's look at what I received in my box!

Elle Magazine March 2015 || Honestly not my cup of tea. I had a look through but nothing in there really interests me. I'm not really a magazine kind of person, so I'm not too surprised. Elle retails for $8.50.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel || I've heard that this is an excellent product for keeping dry skin hydrated. I do not have dry skin. My skin can be oilier than an oil spill in the Atlantic. Even so, I do like how it feels on my skin, especially after I've washed my face. I feel like it's a light moisturiser -- it's not heavy or creamy, and, most importantly, it lets my skin feel like skin. I also kinda like how it smells like my childhood summers, which was basically slip-slop-slapping on sunscreen before jumping into the pool. It is something that I will seriously consider buying in the future, after I finish up the moisturisers I already have. I got a 5g tube of this, and 50g jar is $24.99, making the tube worth $2.49.

Chapstick Natural Papaw Lip Balm || This is a product that I'm disappointed in. If you'd given me this and told me it was a 50c knock-off from the market, I'd believe you. The packaging looks cheap and tacky, plus it neither looks nor smells particularly special. It doesn't necessarily feel bad on my lips, but neither do I think that it does the greatest job at moisturising my lips -- the original Chapstick does a better job, and I still generally prefer Maybelline's Baby Lips. I will continue to use this, but I won't purchase another; then again, I haven't yet seen it for sale online anywhere... This full-size Chapstick is $4.69.

Bioderma Hydrabio Sérum Concentré Hydratant || This product is said to be for "sensitive very dehydrated skin". My skin isn't sensitive but given that I drink almost next to no water, I'm sure it also isn't hydrated. Just a dab of this goes a long way, and it sinks into my skin relatively quickly. I haven't decided yet just how much I like it, but hopefully with regular use I'll be able to tell if it's something worth buying. I got a 15ml tube worth a massive $16.12 (according to my dubious math skills).

Essie Nail Lacquer in "Fashion Playground" || I really like this shade. It's a wintery mint green with a very faint metallic sparkle to it. It can apply unevenly and with some streakiness, but three coats usually gives me complete opaque coverage. I feel like I'll likely bust this out a lot in the winter. Essie nail polishes are $16.95.

Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion || I'll just come right out and say this: I'm not a fan. I've tried this on my legs a couple of times, but I don't really feel like it does anything. I don't even know that I'd ever get into the habit of putting anything on my legs (so much work, y'know?), but if I did, I feel like I might want something slightly heavier. I also don't like the feel of it on my legs; I do like my skin to just feel like skin, but I don't really get that from this moisturiser. I got a 29ml tube of this, worth about $1.63 or so.

Kérastase Nutritive Nectar Thermique || This seems like the kind of product you get from a hair salon, because I can't seem to find it online for purchase anywhere. Originally, I was underwhelmed, as moisturising hair products usually turn my hair into a big, fluffy mane -- no thanks. However, this is supposed to be a very good leave-in heat protectant, and that's something I think I might get some use out of, especially as I've started to think about curling my hair again. I got a 10ml sachet of this, but I don't know how much it would be worth. These brands usually run about the $30 mark or so per bottle.

Price: $15
Bellabox Product Value: $47.89

That's what was in my February Bellabox! The March Bellabox hasn't arrived yet, but I received an email from the company a few days ago saying there'd been an unexpected delay. The email also said that we'd get to choose a bonus product for our April box, which I think has the potential to be very interesting if Bellabox plays it right.

Did you receive the February Bellabox? Which of these products are your favourite?

Shae xo

Friday 27 March 2015

A Name Changing Game Changer

Whether you've followed me from the start or have just found my blog now, one thing has always been certain: my name is Sarah, and I am a Beauty Padawan. Over the last few weeks, however, I've been considering a change to the blog that's a rather big deal -- to me anyway.

I'm acutely aware that blogging on the internet can have an impact on our personal or professional lives -- and while I'm still a university student, my professional career isn't too far away. Knowing how time works, it'll be on me before I know it, and I've decided that I'd like to have a little separation between this life and my approaching professional one.

So, after a lot of time thinking, I've decided to close down this blog.

I'm kidding. I'm just kidding, I swear.

How could I close down this blog? I've still got way too much to write for it, including reviews, makeup looks, hauls and, possibly, some more lifestyle stuff. (The minute I find any interesting lifestyle stuff to write about.) So, while I am going to keep blogging, I'm also going to start signing off under a nom de plume.

Well, it's not really a nom de plume as much as it is my nickname.

"What kind of nickname can you get out of Sarah?" I hear you ask. "Sar? Sez?"

Yeah, sure, but if you've read my About Me page (or follow my blog on Instagram), you'll know that I do go by another name -- and so I've chosen to adopt that name for my blogging. The changeover might be relatively slow, but that's probably going to be down to laziness and general technological ineptitude more than anything else.

So, hi, my name is Shae.


Thursday 19 March 2015

5 Tips to Help You Cope with Study

So you started the academic year with the best of intentions, but like every classic tale of everyday life, things started to pile up. It might be work, it might things happening at home, you might get sick... One way or the other, things start stacking on top of each other and you start to fall behind -- and if you're a natural stresshead like me, times get dark pretty quick. I'm notorious for leaving things right until the last minute; I think there have only been two occasions where I haven't started a paper the night before it's due.

So, if you're gearing up to pull an all-nighter to crack out a few thousand words, or if (unlike me) you're ahead of schedule and can feel the pressure starting to mount, here are a few things to remember:

1. Stretch frequently.

Seriously. I cannot stress how important it is to stretch your back and your neck; all the tension you'll build up otherwise is not good for you. I've suffered from increasing back and neck pain over the last couple of months -- part of it was from basically working too hard with muscles that are weaker than a glass of skim milk left out in the rain (or "too much movement" says the Witch Doctor osteologist), but a lot of it is also from sitting down for so long without so much as a cat stretch!

Be sure to stretch often. Turn your neck gently from side to side, stretch your arms out, rotate your shoulders, lay on your back for a little, bend over the back of your chair (I'm sure someone will tell me you're not actually supposed to do that last one). What I'm essentially talking about are those basic upper body warm up and cool down stretches -- something that's gentle but gets the job done. I've found that stretching more often than not keeps me focused on the task at hand, rather than trying to ignore it and shove it to the side.

Got actual back/neck problems? In that case, I'm not the girl to listen to -- make an appointment with an osteologist and see if they can sort you out. Ask them if they'd recommend doing yoga or pilates, as that's apparently supposed to help strengthen muscle mass.

2. Take short breaks, often.

I'm not saying that you need to plan a ten minute break every forty minutes, or reward yourself with fifteen minutes every time you finish reading a source for your paper. Such structure might help some, but if you're not that person then it will only help you to procrastinate. Try to keep your mind focused when you're reading, but if you feel your attention start to continually slip away, take a step back from the screen for a few minutes.

Honestly, do it.

Make yourself a drink, sit outside for a little bit, stick your iPod or your phone on shuffle and have a ten minute dance party! You might feel like taking a short break is the last thing you should be doing, but if you're going to stare at the same sentence over and over again for fifteen minutes... can it hurt? You'll come back to your work feeling refreshed.

3. If you can't live without social media, limit yourself.

I know a lot of girls who put themselves into lockdown as far as social media goes when it comes to exam time. They get their boyfriends or best friends or cats to change their password and log out. No social media, no temptation, correct?

Unfortunately, it doesn't work out so well for all of us. When I've tried to go completely cold turkey in the past, it's led to me to instances where I've been inactive, zoned out and itching to grab my phone and see if anyone's liked the Facebook status I put out just before I decided to leave it alone for a few days. The end result? I end up caving in and binging! If you honestly feel like going without Facebook or Twitter or Instagram will not help you stay focused, pick one and stick to it. Make that social media account is the one you check frequently. You'll be surprised by how little you do.

4. It's okay to power nap.

"Oh hell no," I hear some of you say. "Do you know how much work I have to do over the next week? I'm going to be working from the hours of 6am to 2am daily, I'm going to live on nothing but hot chips, expensive ice cream, M&Ms and sugar-free Mother until it's all done. SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK." And okay, if you want to do that, do that. Heaven knows I've lived that lifestyle for years. That being said, I know when I need to stop and take time out for a few hours. Sure, maybe I still have 500 words to go on my 2000 word paper, but when I blink suddenly and realise that I typed this:

"Fortified bras are primary action men and Hamlet had one so tough."

...instead of this:

"Fortinbras is primarily a man of action and Hamlet one of thought."

Well, I know it's game over at that point. (And, if you're curious, yes, that actually happened.) There's no point in pushing out an essay if you're so tired that you hardly know what you're writing. Stop. Put your head down right where you are. Nap.

5. Try something else.

This works best if you've got the time to flit between two different assignments -- if you're down to the wire, not so much. If you've been trying to get your head around a paper for three hours but seem to be getting nowhere, ask yourself, "Do I need to take a step back?" It might be best for you to stop what you're working on and go look at something else.

Don't give up. Don't take a procrastination-fuelled break.

Having a go at another task may just be the thing that you need to snap out of the funk you're in. Your mind, while still working, can take a break from the task at hand by focusing on a new one -- and it's possible that you might find it easier to continue on with the old task once you've had some time away from it.

These tips are ones that I use to help keep me focused on my studies, especially when it begins to pile up and the clock starts ticking. Remember that although these work for me, they might not be for everyone -- so don't try something out if you think it'll end in disaster. You know what works best for you, and if you start experiencing pain or strange health-related symptoms, go see a doctor. Stat.

What are your best study tips?

Sarah xo

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Padawan Problem: I've destroyed my makeup brush!?

So here's a blogger fact of life: I don't often deep clean my brushes. I know you're supposed to, and I do lightly clean them very often, but a true, proper deep clean? I just don't have the time! Nevertheless, last week I did find myself with a little extra time, so I thought to myself: "Deep clean your brushes, Sarah! Get them sparkling clean!"

I probably wasn't as thorough with my process as I should've been, but I stood at my bathroom sink and gave them the clean they deserved, shadow brush by shadow brush, foundation brush by foundation brush.

Then I reached my Real Techniques stippling brush.

It wasn't too, too dirty -- I'd given it a spot clean a few days before and hadn't used it since -- but I figured it would be nice to get as much foundation of those bristles as I could. I did what I'm sure loads of people do: went to town with my MAC brush cleanser, got all the gunk out and then started rinsing the rest of the product under the tap.

Here's the thing, though.

Apparently the thumb and forefinger on my right hand have the combined strength of a bear, because THIS happened:

What the hell?!

One moment I'm seeing question marks about the shedding, the next moment the whole brush head is in my hand! At this point, I did what I feel any quick-thinking Padawan would do: packed up my house and moved to a cave deep in the Australian wilderness to escape the hordes of angry, outraged bloggers hell bent on making me pay for my crime.

And messaged my favourite Beauty Yoda (Danielle), questioning my place in the human race while seeking hope that all was not lost.

Sure enough, once she got over the initial shock (and I might need to use the word loosely, but I feel comfortable using it), she had a suggestion for me: if the bristles are all still attached together, super glue it back into the brush handle! I really think that it sounds like an idea worth trying out, but until I do actually get around to sourcing some -- the supermarket was out when I went yesterday -- I've pretty much just shoved everything back in.

While I won't be using it until I source some glue, at least it's all now in one piece, so I don't have to worry about losing one of the pieces (which would've inevitably happened, trust me). I may just even end up buying a new brush -- but I'm in no hurry.

Have you ever destroyed one of your makeup brushes?

Sarah xo

Thursday 5 March 2015

February Favourites 2015

I can hardly believe it -- how can February have disappeared so quickly? And, arguably more of a shocker, I'm actually posting a Favourites post for the second time in as many months! When I started Diary of a Beauty Padawan, I found that I didn't need to write them so often, that one every two months did the trick.

Maybe it's because I've been using different kinds of products throughout February, maybe it's because I've actually been trying to keep a mental list of what I've reached for, but I found that this month I've got an easy post to write! It's as though the odds are ever in my favour...

Famous last words.

My February favourites are almost enough to do a whole face. You're likely able to see the kind of look I've been going for lately: a full face, natural eyes, nude lip and a kickass blush. This is what I've been using to achieve all of that (and getting some nice compliments along the way!).

Klara Cosmetics Be NhueD Eyeshadow Palette || I bought this a couple of months ago in the post-Christmas sales, and I've spent a hefty amount of time trialling out the shadows to see what kind of look I could pull out of it. This palette has six matte shadows -- five naturals/browns, and one white -- and they all work insanely well together to give you a really elegant, fuss-free look.

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in "Trooper" || This has to be, hands down, the best pen liner I have ever used. Ever other brand I've tried with the same idea -- MAC, NARS, and CoverGirl -- have let me down in one way or the other, but so far I have had very few troubles with this. It's a beautiful blacker than black colour, allows precise application, and stays on all day.

Rimmel Lasting Finish 25HR Foundation || My skin has seen better days than those in February, and I had a few days where I wanted my makeup to survive all day -- this was the foundation I reached for. It did a pretty decent job of staying in place, and even if it did get a little shiny at the end of the day, I didn't end up looking like a grease ball. I have to say that I really like this foundation.

L'Oreal Paris Collection Exclusive Nudes in "Mauve Tint by Frieda" || I bought this lipstick because it was the only variety left at Priceline when I went in to buy the whole lot of them. I swatched it and was unsure as to whether I'd like it or not -- and then thought, "Hey, why the hell not?" It's actually been my favourite lipstick of late: it's not too dark, it goes with whatever eye makeup look I decide to go with, and it's light enough that I don't have to worry when I eat! Ladies and gents, I have a winner!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in "Radiant Magenta" || I've been reaching more and more for this blush lately -- I've been going so neutral and everyday on the eyes and lips that I wanted a bit more colour somewhere. "Radiant Magenta" was perfect for that, adding some fresh colour to my cheeks that lasts longer than Sean Bean in just about any TV show he's in.

Urban Decay Naked3 Palette || A friend of mine went to the UK last year and asked if I wanted her to get anything for me. This was one of those items, and while I've still yet to fully discover the potential of this palette, it's been great for easy, fuss-free everyday looks.

That's about it for my favourites for February! Everyone's been saying it, but it really has gone quickly -- what a difference two or three days makes to a month! At least next year's a leap year, so we'll have an additional 24 hours to get our shiz together.

What were you loving last month?

Sarah xo

Sunday 1 March 2015

Drugstore Haul #6: Astoundingly Huge Edition!

I don't think I've posted such a large haul in a while, but don't be alarmed -- I didn't splash all this cash at once! It's been collected up over the last few weeks, where I'd go out and buy things, plan a haul post but never get around it. I know, I'm about as organised as Anne Hathaway at the beginning of The Devil Wears Prada.

I feel like I really like this particular haul -- I can't really explain why except that perhaps it's because I've included a couple of new brands into my collection, such as Australis, an Australian drugstore brand that I've previously avoided because... y'know, cheap makeup here usually means dodgy makeup, and I'd rather spend money on a reliable quality product. However, after seeing some of the reviews floating around, I figure I may as well give them a go -- and when they were on sale for 30% off, why not?

So, without much further ado, here is my latest drugstore haul!

Batiste Dry Shampoo in "Cool & Crisp Fresh" || You may remember from my Empties post that I recently used up a Batiste dry shampoo: meet its replacement. I like this because of the scent -- not that I didn't like Floral & Flirty, but I wanted something different, and everything else was tropical-scented. The only tropical thing I don't abhor is tropical weather.

Australis AC/ME Velourlips Matte Lip Cream in "Grandmaster Pash" || This is from the new AC/ME limited edition line from Australia, which seems to be influenced by musicians -- I can't say I know what Grandmaster Pash comes from, though. This was the nicest of the three new shades: a bit of a deep yet natural red (if such a thing is possible). I haven't tried it out yet; I'm waiting for my lips to be in tip-top condition!

Australis Cray For Colour Lip Gloss in "Twisting Roses" || This basically looks like an orangey-red lip crayon. I'm hoping its opacity is good, considering the name, but time will tell!

Australis Colour Inject Mineral Lip Gloss in "Fandango" || Remember that Rimmel lipgloss I use occasionally (such as here), which I feel bad about using because I don't know the shade name and you can't seem to get it anymore? Well, this looks relatively similar, so I'm hoping it might make a good dupe.

Australis AC/ME Eyeshadow in "Plum Diddy" || This is a cream eye shadow that looks like it has the texture of the Maybelline Color Tattoos, but feels a bit creamier, especially the more you touch it in the pot. I have actually used this once or twice, and so far I like it. I feel that the best application is with the fingers -- I don't know what it is with me and cream products, but I can never get a brush to work as well.

Revlon Lip Butter in "Provocative" || IT'S ANOTHER ONE, GUYS. ANOTHER WEIRD REVLON LIPSTICK. You may remember from this haul that I found an Elsa-freakin'-blue lipstick a while ago, and thought it might've been a one-off freak occurrence, because it was months before I saw it again. When I did, I also noticed this lipstick, which seems to be along a similar vein. It looks to be a very sheer lilac colour, but I want to test it out more thoroughly. Like Elsa-freakin'-blue Invite Only, this doesn't appear on the Lip Butter page.

OPI Fifty Shades of Grey Mini Nail Lacquer Set || Let's get real now: I haven't read Fifty Shades of Grey, nor have I seen the movie, but the nail polishes? Heck yeah! I did think about buying full-size ones, but with the $20ea price tag in mind, I didn't really want to spend so much money on polishes that I wasn't totally sure I wanted -- especially when so many of them are grey. This set of mini polishes -- containing all six shades: My Silk Tie, Romantically Involved, Dark Side of the Mood, Shine For Me, Cement the Deal, and Embrace the Gray -- was a perfect idea (and they're so cute!), because I'll get to try them all!

Revlon Lip Butter in "Tutti Frutti" || I found this in the discount section at Myer and thought, "Hey, why not?" It's an orangey colour, which normally wouldn't be my thing because it warms up my skin like it wants to bath it in the sun, but I'm all about trying new colours lately!

Chi Chi Glamorous Gel Eyeliner Collection || I found this at Myer and snapped it up, having wanted to try a heap of Chi Chi's eyeliners for a while. Trouble is, I think they were a Christmas item, because I can't find them on the Chi Chi website -- however it is on the Myer website, so this might your last chance to grab one! This collection features a range of colourful eyeliners that claim to be long-lasting and smudgeproof -- but time will tell!

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in "Black Bean" || I've seen a few blog posts that have called for a black shadow stick to darken powder shadows, but I never had one (I don't even know what I used instead!). I bought this from Target for that exact reason.

NYX Butter Lipstick in "Juju" || Seeing as Target was having, I think, 40% off NYX I figured I may as well buy myself one of their lipsticks, too. While they stocked a number of ranges, many of the lipsticks were sold out, so it was difficult finding a colour I liked. I eventually settled on Juju, a bright red colour that seems to wear nicely. On first impressions, I don't know that it applies as evenly as other lipsticks, but I need to give it a more thorough testing.

Australis AC/ME Eye Shadow in "Bronzonce" || How does one pronounce the name "Bronzonce"? The girl at the Priceline I found it at said "bron-zons" -- I say "bron-zon-say". After all, I'm pretty sure it's meant to mimic Beyoncé. It's a really nice gold cream shadow that applies really well with your finger (and less well if you're like me and using a brush with the skill of a camel). I need to test it out more thoroughly, but it seems to last pretty well all day.

Face of Australia Dark Side Nail Polish in "Wicked Witch of the West" (discontinued) || I hate posting about things that are discontinued, but I never thought that I'd see these nail polishes again, so I snapped them up! This is from the line Face of Australia had last year about movie villains; I managed to get four of them last year when they started to disappear, but I didn't think I'd ever see these ones again. I was at a random Priceline and saw the girl marking these down to a couple of dollars each, so I jumped at the chance! This is a really nice deep green -- I don't think I'd call it the exact colour of the Wicked Witch, but then it has been a while since I saw The Wizard of Oz.

Face of Australia Dark Side Nail Polish in "Darth Vader" (discontinued) || This best works as a glittery top coat, layered on top of another colour to give it a dark edge.

Face of Australia Dark Side Nail Polish in "Magneto" (discontinued) || This is a kind of grey duo chrome colour (I think) that I'm still trying to work the kinks out of. It doesn't seem to apply as evenly as other polishes from the line, but it's still a pretty neat colour.

NYX Butter Gloss in "Red Velvet" || After Amy brought me back a Butter Gloss from Indonesia, how could I not get a couple more? I was a bit stuck for colours, because there weren't many left, but "Red Velvet" looks like a nice, deep red shade.

NYX Butter Gloss in "Cherry Pie" || By comparison, "Cherry Pie" looks much brighter and cleaner. I can't wait to give these all a proper test drive!

Maybelline Color Whisper in "One Size Fits Pearl" || I found this for an insanely cheap price at Woolworths -- they were getting rid of them, possibly to make way for the new Color Drama lip pencils. This doesn't really seem to have much colour to it, but I've only tried it once so far.

CoverGirl Colorlicious Lipgloss in "Fruitylicious" || Woo hoo, a new lip line from CoverGirl! These lipglosses came out in the last couple of weeks, and Priceline were having a 'Buy 1 Get 1 Free' offer -- so I snapped a couple up! I haven't tried this shade out yet, but I'm really hoping it's a serious hot pink.

L'Oreal Paris NutriShine Lipstick in "Strawberry Juice" || Priceline was also having a 'Buy 1 Get 1 Free' sale on all L'Oreal Paris lipsticks and nail polishes, so while hunting for the new nudes collection, I picked this up! It's a red on the more sheer side (so, great for those who don't think they can pull off the full-on Margot-Robbie-at-the-Oscars look). It lasted for a couple of hours before leaving a pinkish-red stain on my lips.

CoverGirl Colorlicious Lipgloss in "Juicy Fruit" || This colour is a delightfully gorgeous pink nude. I love it.

L'Oreal Paris Collection Exclusive Nudes in "Hint of Pink by Doutzen" || With Priceline having a Buy 1 Get 1 Free sale, this line of lipsticks was first on my mind! I don't care if it's not supposed to suit me, I'LL WEAR IT ANYWAY. I bought this with a lipstick for my mother (because why not?) and it's definitely the lightest pink I've ever gotten. It's going to take a little getting used to but I am going to make it work. Just watch.

L'Oreal Paris Collection Exclusive Nudes in "Mauve Tint by Frieda" || This is the one I bought with the NutriShine lipstick (it was the only one there!) and, to my surprise, it looks really nice! I thought it might look too old on me, but it's sheer enough that it does make it look really natural. I love this lipstick.

That's it for this rather large haul -- I hope that I don't have to post any others for a little while! Do you have any of these products in your collection? What are your thoughts? I'm really excited to play with all of them, so I'll hopefully be able to crack out a couple of extra reviews in March!

Sarah xo