Tuesday, 27 August 2013

VIDEO: Taken By Surprise has been featured on The Sonder Project!

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be approached by The Sonder Project, a team of super lovely final year advertising students at RMIT University, to take part in their video and blog series.

Before I go on, you're probably wondering what The Sonder Project is! 

Simply, The Sonder Project is a web series dedicated to finding the connections between people living in Melbourne.
n. The realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you. 

How cool is that! That's the essence behind The Sonder Project, to find people through links even if those links haven't been realised yet. It could be that two people both love a certain cafe, buy their clothes from the same stores, have shared an ex, you name it, the links are endless. Think of it like the six degrees of separation, except in Melbourne it feels like a lot less!

Anyway, The Sonder Project is all about creating a chain reaction and I was lucky enough to be approached as the first person in their chain (yay!).

Check out the interview they did below or take a look at the blog post they wrote about me - I feel very honoured to be a part of such a cool idea!

To find out who else they discover in Melbourne, you can like them on Facebook or check them out on Instagram (@thesonderproject).

Here are some of the behind the scenes photos from the shoot - a big thanks again to the team behind The Sonder Project for having me, I had so much fun!

It feels like I've been doing a lot of interviews lately; I feel really happy that people want to get to know my blog, my Etsy shop CrownedByFlowers, and me.

It's so nice to know that people are interested in my work and it inspires me to continue working hard to create content for you guys - my wonderful, wonderful readers.

Stay tuned for some tutorials coming soon - I've got a nail art tutorial and a spring hairstyle how-to on their way! If you have any requests for posts, feel free to leave them in the comments and I'll do my best!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

VIDEO: CrownedByFlowers for Initial Thoughts

I have something exciting and a little bit different to share with you guys today!

A few weeks ago, the lovely ladies from the production team at Initial Thoughts approached me to do a video series featuring my flower crown Etsy shop, CrownedByFlowers. I already knew one of the team members as she and I both contribute to Meld Magazine, so I was more than happy to take part.

Basically the video series is for their university assignment; the team at Initial Thoughts had to create a series of videos based on a particular item and then explore the idea of that item.

In this case, they chose to feature my flower crowns, which was super sweet of them! If you want to learn more about their project, check out their brief.

After learning more about my flower crowns, Initial Thoughts went on to explore the idea of uniqueness to create their next video, inspired by CrownedByFlowers. It's pretty crazy, colourful and quirky, and it's cool to see how they interpreted my flower crowns into creating this abstract video!

Thank you very much Initial Thoughts for featuring me, I had a lot of fun working with you. Good luck with your project!

I also have an upcoming feature on coming up soon on The Sonder Project; more coming on that soon!

Friday, 16 August 2013

My Current Skincare Routine & Favourite Skincare Products

When I was younger (high school in particular) my skin was super oily and I was forever using mattifying products and powders to try and eliminate shine. Whereas now, my skin is oily on my T-Zone (forehead, nose and chin) and dry on my cheeks. It just goes to show that your skin type can definitely change as you get older.

For now, I think it's safe to say that I have true combination skin. I did get lucky with the fact that I don't get zits very often. I have blackheads thanks to my oily T-Zone, but as for full blown pimples, I barely see those. (But I definitely did when I was a teenager - if you would like a post about acne or how to prevent blemishes/blackheads/whiteheads/etc., let me know in the comments!)

This is the current set of products that I have been using for my daily skincare routine. As you'll see, they're all for different skin types, but since I have combination skin, they all work together to form my skincare army haha Some of these products have been introduced fairly recently into the mix, whereas others have been faithful favourites for years.

My Skincare Routine - Morning

1. With the Nivea Visage Pure & Natural Cleansing Toner, I dampen a cotton pad or two folded tissues with the toner and wipe my face to remove any oils from my skin that has accumulated overnight.

2. Then I apply a blueberry-sized dollop of the Nivea Visage Young Control Shine! Mattifying Gel Cream all over my face, first dotting it on and then massaging it in. I also make sure to apply this moisturiser down my neck as well.

3. From there I start my makeup.

My Skincare Routine - Night

1. First I take off all of my makeup using the Johnson's Face Care Daily Essential Refreshing Facial Cleansing Wipes (how long is that name!). If I have heavy eye makeup on because I had a night out or something, I'll use two wipes. And I make sure not to rub too hard when removing my eye makeup - I don't want wrinkles at 20 years old!

2. In the shower, I cleanse my face with the Nivea Daily Essentials 2 in 1 Wash & Scrub. I just apply a small dollop of this all over my face and neck, gently massage it on my skin in circular motions then rinse it off by splashing the warm water from the shower on my face.

3. If I have dry areas on my face, I'll use the St. Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub to buff away any dead skin. Because it's quite coarse, I just use a small amount and very gently rub it into my skin, concentrating on the dry areas.

4. Once I'm out of the shower and dried off, if I want to use a mask, this is when I do. Otherwise I go straight to step 5. What masks I use depends on what my skin needs; my two favourite masks are listed and reviewed down below.

5. Then I apply my Nivea Visage Pure & Natural Cleansing Toner and my Nivea Visage Young Control Shine! Mattifying Gel Cream in the same way I applied it in the morning routine. But if my skin is feeling a little dry, I'll substitute my Nivea moisturiser with the 
Lancome Hydra Zen Neocalm Moisturing Cream.

My Favourite Skincare Products

Johnson's Face Care Daily Essential Refreshing Facial Cleansing Wipes 
(Normal Skin)
I've been using these babies since I was in middle school. I find that no other makeup remover takes off my makeup as well as these wipes (that includes heavy eye makeup and waterproof mascara!). I remember when I was in one of the school plays, I used to hand these out to everyone in the cast to take off their stage makeup! I also love using these on nights when I don't have enough time to fully cleanse my face. Seriously big A+ to these.

Nivea Daily Essentials 2 in 1 Wash & Scrub 
(Combination & Oily Skin)
I've always been really faithful to Nivea, ever skince (oops, that is a hilarious typo though) I started looking after my skin. I've never had any reactions to them and they clean my face really well. I only started using this scrub this year (I usually use the Nivea Visage Cleansing Gel) and I like that it has little micro beads in it. I don't think it's that great of an exfoliant, but they do help get rid of any surface oils on my skin. P.S: I wash my face in the shower.

St. Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub
This is a pretty recent addition to my shower caddy - I'm a big fan of the St. Ives Invigorating Apricot Scrub but that one was sold out so I picked this one up instead. It's pretty much the same except with blemish fighting ingredients, but I don't know how well that works as I haven't had blemishes when I've used it. Although, maybe that's why! This is a pretty heavy duty exfoliant and really gets rid of any dead skin, but I'd recommend not rubbing too hard because you can irritate your skin. 

Nivea Visage Pure & Natural Cleansing Toner 
(All Skin Types)
I've been using the Nivea Visage Young Purifying Toner since high school but I think it might have been discontinued because I can't find it anywhere. I find I actually like this better anyway! If you're wondering what a toner is, it's similar to a cleansing water. You use a cotton pad to apply it to your face after cleansing and before moisturising and it just picks up any leftover makeup or oil on your skin and leaves you feeling really fresh. I also like that this product is 95% natural!

Nivea Visage Young Control Shine! Mattifying Gel Cream 
(Combination & Oily Skin)
Again, this is a Jessica-Anne favourite. I don't even remember how many tubes of this I have bought over the years, but it's definitely not going anywhere from my skincare routine anytime soon. This moisturiser has the weird ability to moisturise where I'm dry and keep my oily areas matte. I love it. So. Much. Plus it smells sooooo fresh and nice! Although I've always wondered whether my skin will turn blue from using it haha (it won't).

Lancome Hydra Zen Neocalm Moisturing Cream
My face is the weirdest of weird, because sometimes my nose can get dry and the skin flakes (TMI? Sorry...), especially in the summer. So I like to give my schnoz a good hit of moisture by massaging in a deep hydrating moisturiser like this one at night time. Is it just me, or does this product have the weirdest name ever? Regardless, I remember getting this as a freebie from Michelle Phan's Makeup Masterclass at MYER last year and I rationed it because Lancome is known for being expensive and I wanted this to last because it's amazing! 

Grown Organic Alchemist Wheatgerm, Gingko & Cranberry Mask
My mum was actually given this as a gift and she gave it to me because she doesn't use masks. It's lasted me for ages because you really don't need much to cover your whole face (the amount shown in the picture is about the right amount). It goes on kind of pasty and dries clear and then you just wash it off after 10 minutes with warm water. I don't use masks that often, but I like to use this when my skin is feeling a bit dull and unloved because it does a great job at brightening my skin and leaving it super soft afterwards.

FREEMAN Facial Clay Mask in Avocado & Oatmeal
For days when I want to really pamper my skin and flush out any impurities and blackheads, I apply this clay mask. It's not heavy, it dries quickly and does a great job at tightening my pores and leaving my face feeling super refreshed. Like the previous mask, you just leave it on for 10 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water. Plus the little kid in me loves that this is green and I look like those girls from cheesy movies with their green face masks on and cucumber over their eyes (that, or Shrek).

Oily, dry, sensitive, combination... which one are you? Let me know in the comments below, along with your favourite skincare product for your skin type!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Get Glowing: How To Fake Flawless, Dewy Skin

One thing about winter in Melbourne is the harsh wind; not only does it blow your hair about (top knot #ftw) and force you to walk around holding your skirt down, it also completely dries out your skin.

One of the biggest beauty complaints I hear from girls in winter is that the cold weather makes their skin look dull and lifeless due to moisture loss. Dry skin is no fun because you begin to peel and flake in places (gross), your foundation accentuates dry patches and your face just feels tight. But it's easy to fix!

Besides drinking water and investing in a good moisturiser (when I have especially dry skin I like to use Lancome's Multi-Relief Anti-Stress Moisturising Cream at night before I got to bed), there are a couple of ways to make the best of your makeup to get your skin bright and glowing.

Want to know how to put your best face forward? Read on!

Taken By Surprise Tutorial - How To Fake Flawless, Dewy Skin

1. Don't hide your skin! After cleansing, apply a purifying toner using a cotton pad then massage in your favourite moisturiser. Don't be shy with the application; a blueberry-sized dollop should be perfect for your whole face.

Nivea Visage Pure & Natural Cleansing Toner
Nivea Visage Young Control Shine Mattifying Gel Cream
2. Wait a minute or two after applying your moisturiser to let it absorb into your skin before applying a primer. If you have any dry areas, a primer will help smooth out your skin and your makeup will glide on. Plus it makes your makeup last longer; perfect for the combatting the cold, harsh wind!

TheBalm Time Balm Face Primer

3. For glowing skin, apply an illuminating liquid foundation. If it has a subtle shimmer to it, even better as that will reflect light, making your skin look brighter. Dot/stripe your foundation onto your face then apply using your fingers by massaging the product in with circular motions. I suggest using your fingers instead of a brush because the heat from your skin will warm the product, making it easier to blend, thus looking more natural.

Rimmel London Wake Me Up Foundation in "Soft Beige"
4. If you have any red areas/blemishes/etc., apply a liquid concealer to the problem areas and blend using your fingers. If you cover up any dark circles, don't forget to apply the concealer and gently pat it in using the pad of your ring finger - that area is very delicate!

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in "20 Sand"

5. Let your base settle in for a minute or two before applying your setting powder using a kabuki brush. If you apply your powder too soon after applying your foundation/concealer, the powder sticks to your base rather than sets it, causing that "cakey" look. Your face will look much more flawless if you try this tip!

Essence Mattifying Compact Powder in "04 Perfect Beige" (it shattered...)
Sportsgirl Brushed Up! Kabuki Brush
6.  Time to contour! Contouring gives your face some dimension, but we want to keep this look pretty natural. With a flat-topped buffing brush, apply your powder bronzer in a "3" shape - along your temples, under your cheekbones, and along your jawline. If you would like a full tutorial on how to apply bronzer, check out my post on how to bronze correctly.

Estee Lauder Soft Matte Bronzer in "Bronze Goddess"
7. Let's get cheeky! For dewy skin, I recommend using a liquid blush / cheek stain instead of a powder or cream blush. Liquids and stains blend easily and look really natural, plus they don't overpower your makeup. Just apply two little drops to each cheek and pat into the apples of your cheeks up to your temples using your finger tips. Don't rub!

8. Now for my favourite product for getting bright, glowing skin - highlighter! This is like liquid gold; a little bit applied along your cheekbones, under the arches of your brows, down the bridge of your nose and on your cupid's bow will do wonders for how bright your complexion looks! I like a liquid highlighter personally, but you can also use a powder version (or even a shimmery champagne-shade eyeshadow).

Benefit Cosmetics High Beam

From here I just added some liquid liner, inner corner highlight and mascara, and...

...that's it!

How do you ace your base? Maybe you have a great face product to recommend? Let me know in the comments below!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Nail Art Tutorial: Watercolour Nails

A lot of nail art designs can be super difficult to achieve without a steady hand, I totally understand that. It still takes me a while to perfect a lot of designs! 

So for all my girls (and guys) who want nice nails without the hassle of perfection, I've created a look that's MEANT to be messy!

Cue, watercolour nails.

How pretty is the final effect? All of the colour blend into each other, creating a real dreamy sort of look. 

For this style, you definitely do not need to worry about shaky hands. The messier your polish gets, the better the final result, no joke! And it's so easy, seriously, a three-year-old could do it (but they probably shouldn't - nail polish is toxic).

Anyway, let's get on to the tutorial!

I've decided I'm going to present all of my nail art tutorials as pictorials (like this one) - what do you think of this layout? Let me know in the comments below!

Taken By Surprise Tutorial: Watercolour Nails

And that's it!

Sorry, sorry about my manky cuticles! Winter wind, I can't stand it :(
If you try this tutorial, what four colours would you use? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Mini Beauty Haul thanks to Girlfriend Magazine

Hey friends! As many of you may know, I won the Girlfriend Magazine Rimmel Beauty Insider Competition last year where part of the prize is a year's supply of Rimmel London makeup to review for the magazine.

Every month I receive some Rimmel London products before they're released (I'm such a lucky duck, thank you so much!), but when I opened this month's parcel, I was so stunned to see much more than just the Rimmel product I expected to receive!

The lovely ladies at Girlfriend Magazine included a few extra goodies for me as a surprise and it was like beauty Christmas! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Now that I've tried them most of them out, I thought I'd do a mini haul post and let you guys know what I think of the products.

P.S: I didn't include the Rimmel product in this post; you'll have to wait until it's released in the next two months or so to see it ;) Hint? It's already available in the UK!

Designer Brands Organic Aloe Leaf Hand & Nail Cream
Thanks to the harsh winter wind, my hands and nails have been super dry lately. And no one likes cracked cuticles. Yuck. So I was pretty stoked to get my hands on (ha) a new hand cream to try. It smells really good and does an alright job at moisturising my skin. It's a bit oily until it soaks in, but I'm pretty happy with it. It's a bit large to put in my bag during the day, so I might make it my "before bed" hand cream so I wake up with soft skin in the morning.

glam manicare express! 3 in 1 nail art pen
You might recognise this from a couple of posts back. I reviewed this little kit in that post, so check it out if you'd like to know what I thought!

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in "French Mani 006 Polka Party"
I've yet to try these babies out, but I've only heard good things about the Sally Hansen nail strips. Thing is, they're single use, so I'm waiting for the right time to use them so I don't waste them haha I've opened up the box and there are three different types of strips, so I'm kind of confused as to how to apply these. Has anyone tried these before? 

Butter London LIPPY in "Jaffa"
When I was in Queensland (see my QLD haul here) I almost bought one of these when I saw it in one of the shops I visited, but decided not to as I figured I don't wear lip gloss that often. Even if I had bought one, I wouldn't have chosen this colour because orange/tangerine lip colours don't generally suit me. So I was really surprised when I tried this on and found myself loving the colour! It's a pastel shade of orange with a pink undertone and is REALLY pigmented for a lip gloss. It's a bit sticky but not annoyingly so and it smells like candy bananas. 

Bloom Lip Gloss in "Cutie Pie"
I've never tried any of the Bloom products but I remember them being really popular among my friends when I was in high school. I actually love this gloss, it's a great everyday deep pink (although not as deep as it looks in the photo) and it's only a little sticky. The smell of it is really nostalgic because it reminds me of lip glosses I used to wear as a teenager (I feel so old writing that haha) and I love that it fits in my wallet so I can reapply it throughout the day.

Carmex Moisture Plus Ultra Hydrating Lip Balm in "Peach"
I've seen ads for this product all over magazines and websites but hadn't actually gotten around to trying it. When it comes to lip balm and chap sticks, I generally stick to Lucas Papaw Ointment or Maybelline Baby Lips, so I was happy to try something different. It's actually pretty good - Carmex make really good lip balms (the ones I've tried anyway) and I like that this one has a bit of colour to it. Plus the packaging is lovely and streamlined, looking more like a lipstick than a lip balm. Think lip balm for grownups! And it does actually hydrate my lips pretty well. Lately I've been wearing it under my lipstick for an extra moisture hit.

Have you tried any of these products? If you have, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

*Disclaimer: All of these products were given to me as a gift from Girlfriend, I wasn't asked to review them or anything, I just wanted to share these new finds with you! All opinions are honest and my own :)

Friday, 2 August 2013

Vintage Pin-Up Girl Makeup Tutorial

There's something undeniably glamourous, flirtatious and fun about vintage pin-up girls. Think big doe-eyes framed with dramatic winged liner and sultry red lips; um, H-O-T! 

Some glam-as inspo...
Images belong to their respective owners.
While it's a makeup look that was first made popular in the 1940s, it's a totally wearable look that doesn't date (and still looks as sexy as ever).

As a huge fan of the cat eye flick and a bold lip, this is a makeup look that I wear pretty often, and now I'm going to show you step-by-step how to recreate this look yourself! And hint... it's easy as pie!

Taken By Surprise Tutorial - Vintage Pin-Up Girl Makeup

1. Start off with a fresh-faced base by applying a light liquid foundation using your fingers to blend it in. If you have an illuminating formula, even better; it'll give you that dewy and glowing skin that all pin-up girls seem to have! Then cover up any redness or blemishes with a creamy concealer.

Rimmel London Match Perfection Foundation in "200 Soft Beige"
Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in "20 Sand"
2. Don't apply your setting powder just yet. If you apply powder too soon after your base, you can end up looking cakey (not cute!). Let it settle in for a few minutes; in the meantime, let's get those iconic high vintage brows! 

Starting about a finger's width from the beginning of your brows (start too close and they'll look unnatural), begin filling them in with an eyebrow pencil the same shade as your brows. Normally you'd use a pencil a few shades lighter, but we want darkish ones for this look. Create a high arch and with a spoolie brush, soften the pencil lines for a natural finish. Them set those babies with brow gel!

Rimmel London Professional Eyebrow Pencil in "001 Dark Brown"
Benefit Speed Brow Brow Gel
3. Now you can apply your setting powder!

Essence Mattifying Compact Powder in "04 Perfect Beige"
4. For a pretty flush, apply a cheek stain to the apples of your cheek and pat the colour in using your fingertips, blending outwards towards your temples. Try a pink stain over a red stain for a sweeter look.

Benefit Posie Tint
5. Eye time! Start by applying an eyeshadow primer all over the lid, inner corners and up to the brow bone. Then for our colour base, apply a white cream shadow all over your lids using your ring finger.

Urban Decay Primer Potion in "Original"
Maybelline Colour Tattoo in "05 Too Cool"
6. On top of the cream shadow, apply a matte pale yellow/cream/white powder eyeshadow using a flat shadow brush. Pat the pigment on for an even finish.

Urban Decay NAKED2 Palette in "Foxy"
7. To get the traditional pin-up girl defined cut crease, take a matte taupe/grey cream eyeshadow and apply using a short crease brush directly into the crease, then work the colour in a windscreen wiper motion to blend it out. Be careful not to use too much!

Maybelline Colour Tattoo in "35 Tough As Taupe"
8. For your inner corner highlight, I love how gold looks when work with black and red, so with a highly pigmented gold eyeshadow, apply to your inner corners. Talk about golden girl!

Urban Decay NAKED2 Palette in "Half Baked"

9. Time to get your liners out! With a nude pencil liner, line your waterline, which will make your eyes look bigger and brighter. Then with a black pencil liner, line your tightline (your upper lash line); this will make your lashes look fuller. To highlight your brows, with a white pencil liner, draw a line directly under the arch of your eyebrows, then blend using your fingers.

Rimmel London Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Pencil Eyeliner in "005 Nude" and "001 Black"
Rimmel London Soft Kohl Kajal Eyeliner Pencil in "071 Pure White"
10. For wonderful winged eyeliner, I suggest using liquid liner. My tip on the perfect cat eye flick is to draw a line that extends from your outer corner, towards your eyebrow, following the natural curve of your lower lashline. Then connect the end of that line to your top lashline, fill in the triangle you've created, then just line your top lashline. Easy! If you'd like a more detailed tutorial, check out my post on how to use liquid liner.

Maybelline Hyper Glossy Liquid Liner
11. Now for big, doe-eyed lashes! First step is always, CURL those lashes! Then from here you can apply your favourite volumising mascara and a pair of falsies, but because I'm hopeless with falsies, I've used a duo-fibre mascara. This mascara's wand has two ends, one with mascara and the other with lash fibres and basically you apply a coat of mascara, then a coat of fibres, then another coat of mascara, and your lashes look super long afterwards! Don't forget to apply mascara to your bottom lashes too!

Model Co Fibre Lash Brush On False Lashes Traveller Mascara
12. And of course, finish off with a statement matte red lip! You can go for a matte lipstick or a matte lip lacquer, whichever you prefer.

Lime Crime Cosmetics Velvetine in "Red Velvet"

And that's it! Go forth and be gorgeous!

But I already think you're gorgeous, you know that ;)

Which era do you think had the best makeup looks? My favourites are the 50s and 60s, but let me know yours in the comments below!
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