Life

Two Months.

So. I have officially been home in Brisbane for two months. And. Um. I need to get my ass in gear.

Emotionally, I am so proud of what I’ve done in the last two months. I’ve been on autopilot a little the last couple weeks because I’ve had a lot on with uni and work but this morning when I realised the date I took a moment to reflect on how I’ve been feeling and I’m happy to say: I’m fucking great.

What’s not so great is my failure to reach (or even attempt) my physical goals. Diet wise I feel like I’m doing okay… ish. Since moving home I’ve gone back to a vegetarian diet after my brief affair with poultry and I’m feeling a lot better for it. I’ve also stopped eating eggs and am mostly dairy-free (although those leftover Easter eggs are giving me grief). I’m not really trying to go completely vegan but I want to strive for a predominantly plant-based diet in my everyday life. I’ve also been trying to limit gluten from my diet because coeliac disease is in my family and I’ve been googling symptoms (problematic, I know) and I’m trying to avoid going to the doctor. I was tracking my macros and counting calories on myfitnesspal but my phone broke and I’ve gone analogue (pre-smartphone) until my new phone comes in the mail, which to be honest I feel a little better about. I’ve been trying to eat intuitively and just include as much variety into my meals as possible, which works like, probably 80% of the time.

My physical activity is where things are lacking. I’ve been wanting to join a gym for, well, the entire two months I’ve been here but I still haven’t been paid by work and I can’t bring myself to commit funds I don’t really have. I’ve done the odd workout at home and I’ve been hiking a little bit here and there but nothing near the vigorous regime I want to work my way up to. I’ve been watching possible a little too many fitness youtubers lately and I just feel like I need to pick myself up.

Even though it’s almost four in the afternoon and I couldn’t really think of anything worse than putting on makeup, I’m going to get ready and go to my local gym and at least enquire about pricing and check out the equipment so I can justify the two hours I’ve just spent online window shopping athleisure that I feel too fat to wear right now. I’m really going to try to update this blog later this week with a little diet/exercise update – really more for my own benefit rather than anyone reading it, to ensure I’m staying true to what I’ve been saying I’ll do.

 

Life

Relaunch.

Starting this blog was my main goal at the beginning of this year; I wanted to review makeup products and share recipes and travel diaries and everything that was important to me. BUT – I’ve been avoiding writing for about six weeks now and it’s mostly because I’ve been battling with whether or not to write about a certain significant event that’s found me in a whole different state (literally and mentally).

Just over six weeks ago my boyfriend and I broke up. Without going too much into it, it was what most would consider a ‘good’ breakup, meaning there was no big fight or major disaster or screaming and we agreed that (eventually) we would try to be friends. But he was my first love and I was naïve and young and I genuinely thought I’d found the person I would spend the rest of my life with, combined with the complication that we were living together and yadda yadda (you’ve probably heard this all before). The breakup was sudden and surprising and shocking and devastating and it changed everything I had planned for my future. I ended up moving interstate to be with my family and I had to leave my job and transfer uni and say goodbye to some really amazing people and pretty much just start fresh. I’ve spent the last month and a half on a constant cycle of missing my ex, finding my feet and then crashing back into the inevitable self-pity and loathing that follows a breakup (even a ‘good’ one).

Today, whilst taking a very long shower and thinking all of the things (anyone else? Just me? Okay) it finally occurred to me that it’s not up to my ex to break this cycle – I can’t wait for him to give me closure or permission to move on with my life. I am on my own journey now, completely independent of him, and I need to take ownership and responsibility of that and appreciate it for all of the opportunities and freedom that it has ahead of me.

Anyway, that was my roundabout way of explaining why I’ve been so slack and where my head is at. I know that it’s “only a breakup” and everyone goes through it at some point –but it really just threw me and honestly I don’t feel like the same person I was two months ago. My whole life is different and I’m starting to think that this blog is going to need to change direction if there’s any hope that I will maintain it beyond this point.

Right now I am focussing on my health, both physical and mental. For the last three years I have put all of my energy toward loving someone else and I have really neglected to take care of myself. So I’m really working on my diet and exercise regime, building up the friendships that I have neglected over the last couple years and exploring all of the interests I set aside because they were ‘mine’ and not ‘ours.’

So as of now this blog is going to be some weird hybrid between lifestyle blog and online journal – which I realise may not be particularly interesting for most to read but:

  • Best case scenario: at least one other person going through something similar reads this and it helps them through a tough time, OR
  • Worst case scenario: no one reads it and it purely functions to keep me accountable and honest as I try to work through this apparent quarter-life crisis

Either way, I’m ready to do the thing and living the life and yeah.

Beauty

March Favourites

Listen, I’m grounded enough to realise that I don’t have a large enough following to care, but I’d still like to acknowledge that I’ve neglected this blog over the last few weeks and I’m sorry. A few things have happened this month and I’m just trying to wrap my head around it all.

I’m also well aware that this kind of post is far more interesting if the author is somewhat famous or well-established – sorry about it, I have no creativity.

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Loreal Infallible 24-Matte Foundation

Because it’s been so hot and humid in Brisbane lately I’ve been struggling like crazy to keep my makeup from sliding off my face in one piece. This foundation actually surprised me with how well it wears throughout the day, I can honestly apply it at 7am and it still looks great at 10pm when I take it off. I wouldn’t say it’s completely matte for me, at least not all day, but I won’t ask too much of a drugstore foundation.

Here’s my favourite thing about this foundation: it’s sweatproof. The temperature this week has been in the high twenties with humidity sitting around 90% and I’ve had literally no issue with this foundation breaking up (and believe me, I’m a sweaty human).

 

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Polish in Greyfitti

I hate getting my nails done. There, I said it. I hate the sound of a nail file, I can never keep my nail polish from chipping for more than an hour and acrylics are a torture I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Top it off with the fact that I tear my fingernails when I’m anxious (gross, sure, but everyone has a vice) so I never really have much to work with.

Insert Sally Hanson’s Gel Polish. Amazing stuff. Like most five-year-olds, I often struggle to colour within the lines – not with this polish. I feel like it’s something about the shape of the brush combined with the consistency of the polish itself that makes it so much easier to apply than anything else I’ve ever used. And it lasts beautifully without chipping (honourable mention to the Sally Hansen nailgrowth Miracle I used at a base too).

 

BareMinerals Pop Of Passion Lip Oil-Balm in Rose Passion

As someone who suffers with perpetually dry lips, this product is honestly something I couldn’t live without. This lippie is super conditioning and gives a lovely hint of colour. I love the shade ‘Rose Passion’ so much because it gives such a natural ‘your lips but better’ look for every day wear. I also love that you can build the colour up for a bolder look and because it leaves a tint on the lips it wears away without a trace so you don’t have to worry about reapplying it throughout the day if you don’t have time. I love using this product as a base if I’m wearing a matte or liquid lipstick because it conditions the lips and helps to extend the wear of most products.

 

Maybelline Full’n’Soft Waterproof Mascara

I actually bought this to use on my bottom lashes because I have sensitive eyes that like to water and ruin my life (i.e. my eye makeup) but it’s earned its way as my go-to every day mascara. Considering the price, this mascara separates and coats the lashes so well and actually holds the curl of my lashes better than some of my more expensive products. I was reluctant at first to use this on a daily basis as waterproof mascaras can be difficult to remove which can damage your lashes – BUT I find that a basic micellar water works just fine to remove it without excessive rubbing on the eye area.

 

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Cleanser

I’ve had a stressful few weeks and my skin has really suffered for it. This facewash just leaves my face feeling clean and bright without drying it out which is really all a girl can ask for. I love how soft my skin has been feeling since I started using this and it’s definitely been keeping my breakouts at bay. I bought the baby version from Mecca Maxima’s Beauty-To-Go section to give it a go and will definitely be buying the full size product when it runs out.

 

Beauty

Review: NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer

The new NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer launched in Australia this week and I’ve got to admit, it’s embarrassing how excited I was for its release. I’m yet to see a single bad review of this miracle pot and couldn’t wait to give it a go myself.

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I bought this concealer from Mecca Maxima for $44 AUD in the shade Cannelle (light 2.75). Mecca advertise this shade as light with peachy undertones, which I thought would be a good match to counteract the blue tones under my eyes. I also chose a lighter shade as I’ve heard this range run slightly darker than the radiant creamy concealer – for reference I usually wear Santa Fe (medium 2). You get 6.2 grams of product in this little pot which I think is awesome, especially compared to similar products like the Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer which retails for the same price containing only 1.4 grams.

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NARS advertise this product as an oil-free, high coverage, natural looking concealer that blurs and smooths imperfections. The main ingredient is dimethicone (silicone), but it also contains a number of skin-loving ingredients like hyaluronic acid and collagen-boosting peptides which will hydrate and plump the skin.

Under eyes:

Being the first week of uni, I’m currently adjusting to a new sleeping pattern and a little bit of added stress. This paired with a suspected iron deficiency has left me with some pretty dark under eye circles that have been driving me nuts for quite a while now. The camera doesn’t really pick up the discolouration but I assure you – it’s there. I also have premature signs of aging under my eyes that tends to wreak havoc when it comes to applying under eye concealer. Before applying the concealer, I applied my Origins Ginzing eye cream and allowed it time to settle into the skin.

In person I found that this product made a much more noticeable difference than on camera. The concealer did a great job of brightening the area and covering my discolouration. I’ve heard that this product will also smooth the area to offset the appearance of fine lines under the eyes but I honestly couldn’t see any change in that sense.

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Eyelids:

Along with under eye darkness, I have quite pronounced veins on my eyelids that I often struggle to cover. I found that this concealer was awesome to cover the blue veins and the darkness that I find I have in my inner corner. The matte finish of this product would also be great as an eyeshadow base for those of us with oily eyelids.

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Blemishes and Texture:

I’ve had a few minor breakouts on the side of my face this week (possibly a reaction to a new skincare product) that has been causing me grief. I found that the concealer worked great to cover the redness of the area while the natural finish offset the appearance of the texture quite nicely.

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Overall:

For a cream matte concealer, the finish of this product is so natural and light on the skin. I felt that it brightened and concealed all of my problem areas and I can actually see myself wearing this on its own to classes when I just want to look fresh and awake but also natural. I’ve previously only used liquid concealers as every cream product I’ve previously tried has creased and been difficult to work with (I’m looking at you, Bobbi) but this concealer is the absolute opposite. Overall, I would describe this more as a medium rather than the advertised full coverage with a luminous matte finish, similar to that of the All Day Luminous foundation.

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Life

4 Tips to Survive This Semester

This time next week summer will have officially ended and another university semester commenced here in Australia. As we studious types pack away our swimsuits and dust off our book bags, the impending study load can often send us spiralling into a pit of anxiety and dread.

I like to think that in my fifth and final year of study I have finally mastered the art that is surviving semester without a mental breakdown. Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way – hopefully they work for you too.

  1. A good timetable = a good semester

Your timetable will define your life over the next four(ish) months. My first semester timetable was traumatic – I had classes over four days with five hour gaps and classrooms all over campus (#firstworldproblems). But seriously, I lived about two hours from campus and had 8am starts and 6pm finishes and I really struggled to maintain my part-time job at the time due to the ridiculous amount of time I was spending on the train going to and from class.

Most universities have tools that you can use to optimise your timetable based on minimal days spent on campus and/or break times between classes. I usually choose my subjects based on the best timetable I can achieve because I prefer to minimise my time on campus over enjoying what I study in my time spent there. Just kidding. Sort of.

  1. What are your priorities?

In an ideal world a full-time student would be able to live off the satisfaction of a high distinction instead of food, but for most of us, it just isn’t realistic to achieve straight A’s and also pay our rent on time. A crucial part of succeeding at uni is learning how to balance your studies with your other commitments and sometimes it just isn’t possible to do everything 100%.

Depending on your situation, decide what in your life you cannot live without (i.e. food, water, a speedy wifi connection) and prioritise your time around this. If you need to work full-time to support yourself then decide just how demanding a job you can handle and how many subjects you can manage at the same time.

I realise that many people will argue with this advice but a professor of mine once told me that those who excel at uni and those who just pass receive the same piece of paper at the end of their degree. Remember that not all university subjects are created equal and some are far more demanding than others. I often make a decision early on in semester as to which subjects I need to spend more time studying for in order to finish the year with both a passing grade and my sanity (more on this below).

On the same note – don’t take on too much if you can avoid it. Uni hasn’t even officially started yet and I’ve already been too busy to write more than one entry for this blog a week.

  1. Have a game plan

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the most organised or dedicated student. That being said, every semester without fail I make a specific effort to plan my assignments to make sure I don’t let my habit of procrastinating get the better of me.

At the beginning of every semester I always comb through my course profiles and work out which assignments are due when, their weight on my grade and just how much effort is involved to pass. I visualise this information in either a table or on a calendar and keep it in my living room where I will see it every day. I can then plan which assignments I will start when without melting into an anxious pool of stress as four essays are suddenly due within a day of each other (true story). I’ve found that doing this helps me to plan my social and work life around the busy periods of semester and ensures I’m not blindsided by any impending due dates.

I find that this is super important as I am a serial procrastinator (my apartment is never cleaner than when I have an assignment due). HOWEVER, since doing this I have yet to submit an assignment late or (better yet) fail a course.

  1. Make a friend

Australian university is nothing like you see in American movies. It’s just not. I’ve spoken to so many other students about this and we’ve all come to the same conclusion: being a university student in the digital age is an isolating experience. Yet, most of us are feeling the same way and it’s not impossible to find likeminded people – provided you look in the right places – and it may just save you from the crushing burden that is tertiary study.

If you’ve found your major/specialty, spot familiar faces and make yourself known to them. It’s likely that you’ll share a few classes over the next few years and a friendly face may be the only thing keeping you coming to class as your degree progresses. You’re more likely to have common interests with each other and it’s always handy to have a friend in the same course in case you miss a class or need to borrow notes.

Make an effort in your group assignments. Personally, I would rather take a long bath in a swarm of angry bees than do a group assignment. But, I am yet to find a lecturer willing to give me course credit for doing so. Group assignments are great in the sense that for the first time since school you’re actively being forced to associate with your peers. Some of them may be horrible, but others may actually be potential friends that you’ll be grateful to have made when it comes to future courses.

Join the society/club for your chosen field. Membership is usually only a few dollars and it’s a gateway to social events and other opportunities you may miss out on otherwise. To be honest, I’ve really only passively taken my own advice with this one. I tend to join these things without really participating actively in the society, but I feel better at least knowing that there’s an event coming up on the odd chance I feel like going. (Note to self: follow own advice.)

Beauty

Review: BareMinerals Original SPF15 Foundation

People often overlook powder foundations because they assume that they can’t achieve the coverage or finish that a liquid foundation provides. I’d argue that the BareMinerals original foundation is an exception to this rule – providing build-able coverage, a natural finish and a slight luminosity to the skin.

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I first tried this product around Christmas because my partner and I had plans to spend the new year in North Queensland and I couldn’t bear the thought of wearing a liquid foundation in a tropical climate. I didn’t have high hopes or expectations – to be honest I was really just looking for something lightweight that I could throw on to hide my sunburn if we went out for dinner – but I’d heard good things from a friend and figured I might as well give it a go.

Being a powder, this foundation is ridiculously easy to apply. BareMinerals recommend a ‘Swirl, Tap, Buff’ technique which is pretty self-explanatory. After tapping some product into the lid of the pot, simply swirl a kabuki brush (the denser the fuller the coverage) in the foundation, tap off the excess and buff it into the skin.

I personally have combination to dry skin and am blessed with a pretty clear complexion (most of the time at least). I prefer a medium coverage foundation but dabble in either sheer or full coverage formulas depending on the state of my skin and my plans for the day. I find that even a light layer of this foundation works perfectly to even out my skin tone and hide any redness that might be lurking about.

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The only fault I could find to this foundation is that I found it to crease quite a bit under my eyes. That being said, I have this problem with most products and find that if I set my concealer with a finer powder under my eyes it tends to alleviate the issue. BareMinerals advertises the foundation as a non-cakey product that hides the appearance of lines and wrinkles – which I’ll half agree with. The foundation is definitely buildable without that awful clumpy texture, however, I find it settles into my laugh lines when I do wear a heavier layer of it. I don’t mind it so much – I mean, smile lines aren’t bad lines to have – but for this reason I wouldn’t recommend this foundation to those with mature skin.

I wouldn’t recommend this product for those with oily skin or anyone looking to achieve a matte finish. Despite this foundation being a mineral powder, it does not set matte and tends to run on the luminous side throughout the day (especially in the t-zone). I personally didn’t find this to be an issue, in fact it added to the natural look of the foundation on the skin, but I can see how someone with oilier skin would struggle to wear this throughout the day.

The shade range of this foundation is pretty great – it comes in twenty shades and accommodates cool, neutral and warm undertones. I appreciate that BareMinerals have created a product that can be used for both fair and deep skin tones. I personally wear Medium Beige which has a neutral undertone and I find it has worked perfectly over the last few months as my usually pasty skin has progressed to a slightly darker shade of white.

The wear on this foundation is also pretty great, I haven’t had any issues with it breaking up or fading throughout the day and I usually just use blotting paper to control any excess shine if I’m wearing it for an extended amount of time.

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I love to use this foundation over the Mecca Cosmetica Hydrating Primer and Urban Decay Naked Skin concealer as a base. I generally will just use a soft kabuki brush to buff the foundation onto my skin, being sure to blend it down the neck. I then finish off the complexion with a generous dose of the Mario Badescu Rosewater spray to ensure the powder melts into my skin and encourages that gorgeous luminous glow.

Food

Healthy(ish) Choc-Chip Cookies

Hello and welcome to my first ever post on RileyRaw. This is my own little corner of the internet to share recipes, reviews and anything else that falls under the ambiguous definition of a ‘lifestyle blog.’ I plan to post twice weekly – every Tuesday and Friday – and am very open to and grateful for any suggestions or feedback.

I think if there’s anything worth knowing about me it’s that I have a sweet tooth. As a result, I am in constant need of healthy substitutes for the foods that I love to avoid installing an elastic waistband into my jeans.

These cookies are everything you look for in a sweet treat – minus the self-loathing and regret that follows. I personally added dark chocolate chips because I’m a glutton and can’t help myself, but this recipe works just as well with blueberries, raisins or whatever else you’re looking for in a biscuit.

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These cookies are almost as easy to make as they are to eat – you literally need five ingredients and thirty minutes from start to finish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large, ripe banana
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Choc chips or other desired filler – I used about a ¼ cup but you can really choose your own adventure based on the day and just how naughty you’re feeling

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This recipe tends to make about eight cookies.

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. It’s important to note that the riper the banana, the easier it will be to mash. I often mash the banana in the bowl first because I find it easier and cleaner to do without oats flying around the kitchen.
  3. The mixture will be very sticky and unlike regular cookie dough – bear this in mind before getting your hands amongst it – I use a spoon to scoop the mixture onto the baking tray for this reason.

2017-02-09-15-16-29The cookies won’t raise or expand at all so don’t worry too much about leaving space between dollops.

  1. Bake cookies about twenty minutes or until lightly golden.

 

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And you’re all done!

I can’t tell you the shelf life of these as they’ve never lasted more than a couple days in my household but I usually keep them in the fridge because the choc chips have a tendency to melt in the Australian summer.

Please leave a comment to let me know you you get on with this recipe!