Giftmas #2: GIRLS

Giftmas #2: GIRLS

Today's gift guide is one for those of us who run the world, as Beyonce would say. While I'm wary of businesses seemingly cashing in on feminism for commercial gain, I've made a conscious effort to include products for inspiring, boss babes. There's a bit of everything as you'll see and they're all available online. If you're not a mall fan, this guide is for you!

Leslie Knope Pin: Ahh Leslie, Pawnee's answer to Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama in one package, c/o Amy Poehler. This pin would surely help you nail that business proposal, or inject you with inevitable optimism I am sure. There are also Gilmore Girls options and April Ludgate if she's more your spirit animal. I won't judge you.

Violet Magazine: The brainchild of Leith Clark that is really more a book than magazine, despite its glossy pages. It's something you will want to dip in and out of and peruse over and over again. It's beautifully presented and laden with content by and about inspiring women. 

Hourglass Girl Lip Stylo: Now this is perhaps one product to be a touch skeptical about but I'm including them if only for the fact the names are all brilliant and the shades are stunning. Creamy, pigmented colour that packs a punch and looks extremely luxe. A treat in the best way. 

South and West* x Joan Didion: I personally love Didion's work. There's something brilliant about her writing that is hard to pinpoint unless you've experienced it yourself. So on that note (ha) I recommend her latest book be added to your wishlist or gifted to somebody else. 

Patsy Midline Bra x Lonely: I love Lonely lingerie and their campaigns featuring diverse women. Their pieces are just exquisite, well made and incredibly comfy+luxe to wear. A treat for sure but worth every cent. 

NARS Love Triangle: These mini gift sets from NARS combine their popular blushers with lipsticks. Many are in the Audacious formula but there's also a duo with the Orgasm blush+lipstick. If you wanted to get DIY you could wrap this and then hang it on the tree for somebody to unwrap. 

Safety Pin Pearl Hoop Earrings x Alexa Chung: If they're an Alexa Chung enthusiast or into accessories, Alexa has you covered. I love these earrings but also the severed hand pieces and the rainbow choker gives me 00's nostalgia vibes. Actually Alexa's whole collection is gift-worthy but I'm not biased. *ahem*

What Happened x Hillary Rodham Clinton: One of the best books I've read this year. A candid and refreshingly honest, if not at times frustrating account of *that* stranger than fiction election. Despite Hillary's obvious disappointment it's still a hopeful read. 

*For the interests of clarity, I was sent this book earlier in the year for review.

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The Beauty Files, Vol. Five

The Beauty Files, Vol. Five

Hello, happy Friday (TGIF) and yay for a hopefully relaxing, restful weekend. Today we have another installment of The Beauty Files. It's been a little while since the last beauty files post, three months in fact. Today the focus is a bit luxe, a bit sparkly and a bit treat yo'self-y. Let's be real...

Something NewMoon Glow Highlighting Powder* x Bobbi Brown. This is part of the Bobbi Brown Holiday collection for 2017. I've only seen it on a couple of beauty counters so far. The powder compact is a gorgeous white gold shade. It's definitely a highlighter for paler people and I like how it adds more of a glowy radiance to the complexion, as opposed to straight up glitter. It's also encased in the most beautiful, ruby red compact and would go down an absolute treat in any a beauty lover's stocking on Christmas day.

Something LovedOmbre Premiere x Chanel. I first tried Chanel's cream eyeshadows ages ago back when they were much more mousse-like in texture and came with the most bizarre applicator. I feel like it was designed like an angled eyebrow brush but for the eyelids. Anyway, on a whim I went into the Chanel Boutique in Britomart recently and treated myself. I grabbed the shade Undertone, a warm brown with gold reflects. It reminds me of Soba x MAC so if you like that eyeshadow, you'd enjoy this. 

Something Rediscovered: Prunella Eye Pencil* x MAC Cosmetics. Speaking of MAC, this eye pencil which I have from their Christmas collection last year (it is permanent tho) has made a reappearance in my makeup bag. A purply plum, it adds something a bit different to the lashline than your standard black or brown. I guess because it's in festive packaging it makes me feel excited for the holiday season too. Aesthetics and all that.

Something Unconvincing: Beauty advent calendars in general. Hear me out calendar lovers. Yes beauty miniatures are great, and adorable and handy to have. I can't help thinking a lot of the beauty calendars aren't fantastic value for money though. Sure it's a way to try out products and brands but I feel like they often include products from brand's permanent lines, as opposed to limited edition, enticing things. That being said this advent calendar looks fabulous. In general though, I just don't think the beauty calendars are worth the hype. Save your money for a chocolate one. 

Something Lustworthy: NARS Man Ray Collection. I love that NARS are utilising Man Ray's imagery as inspiration for their Christmas collection this year. I grabbed one of the Love Triangle duos, the one with Deep Throat blush+Barbara lipstick and love it. These sets would be perfect for Secret Santa. I also love this which might be under the tree this year for moi ahem. Ahem. 

-What beauty bits have you been loving lately?

*PR Sample
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Giftmas #1: Keep It Personal

Giftmas #1: Keep It Personal

It's (almost) the most wonderful time of the year and if you know me, I freakin' love Christmas. I'm slowly bringing out my decorations. That gold bauble has already made its appearance in more than a few photos and I'm not even sorry about it. This year I have six gift guides for y'all. This week there'll be two going up but otherwise there'll be one a week for the next month. I've themed them all and today's is about things that are truly tailored to the recipient. Admittedly these are all items I'd be ecstatic to receive but I think if you're shopping for somebody who is difficult to buy for, or has really specific tastes, these might be the way to go...

// Rifle Paper Co Personalised Stationery: Who doesn't like personalised, non-tacky things The art of putting pen to paper is almost ritualistic nowadays so if you're going to do it, you might as well make it on beautiful, exquisite card stock. If I found a stack of these under the tree I'd be so stoked.

// Pick 'N Mix, The Body Shop: This year, rather than focusing on your standard gift sets, The Body Shop are giving you the chance to tailor gifts to the recipient. With packaging inspired by lollies and vibrant designs by House of Holland. They have minis like bath bombs, the shower gel above and even starry packaged glitters+liner (yes, I'm mentioning that again). 

// Magazine Subscriptions: Pretty sure I mention this every year but like Karen Walker (of Will & Grace) when she's running late, I ain't even sorry. Find out what titles they love and set up a subscription. It's like a present through their mailbox every month/couple of months.

// Kikki K Monogramming: Only me, the stationery nerd would probably gasp out loud when they saw the embossing machine in store. Again, if personalised things are their jam/you want to give them something unique, Kikki K is the way to go. You can get everything monogrammed; from diaries to keyrings. Even passport holders if you're feeling fancy. 

// Custom Prints: The above is by the lovely Studio Bon, a Wellington illustrator. She does gorgeous work so I recommend checking her work out. There's also graphic prints by Studio Arc.

// Their favourite fragrance: Whether they're a Nirvana White Lady or a Chanel Le Bleu person. *I don't know guy's colognes this is just one I've spritzed and liked. Obviously this is a luxe option but you could always buy them a rollerball/hand cream in the scent they love. 

// Book subscriptions: The brilliant folk at Time Out have recently debuted a subscription service. You'll receive a book tailored to your taste/that of someone else's for the next year. Again, like magazines this is the gift that keeps on giving. 

// Decorations x Anthropologie: Umm, how adorable are these!? Anthropologie have a range of personalised gifts but it's these golden letters that I think are particularly exquisite. 

-Have you started gift shopping?

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We Were On A Break: No Treat Yo'Self Diaries

We Were On A Break: No Treat Yo'Self Diaries

Nobody said it was easy, old habits die hard and vice versa. At the beginning of October, inspired by Daisy Buchanan, authoress, not morally questionable Gatsby character, I decided to have a month of #notreatyoself as I put it. Along with my pals and cheerleaders Olivia and Britney who all committed in different ways, I set out on my quest as I put it in my diary entries. Speaking of diaries, that rather spectacularly failed and I only have a handful of entries but I will include them here for your entertainment. There might even be *side notes* too because that's just how I roll. 

October 1st: Feeling hungover but really just struck down with the flu* after it's passed by everyone else. On the plus side it's made me not want to go anywhere. A cocktail would've gone down well whilst waiting for my flight. Instead, I bought a mocha. Nothing else. Caffeine was essential. Is essential. Maybe next month I try no cafvember. *I don't actually even know what I had. Just that it was vile and left me feeling less than amazing for a good ten days or so.

October 6th: Oh my god. This is quite a test! Last night I came across the Lonely tee, donating all proceeds to NZBCF and I couldn't get it under the rules of this challenge. And I felt terrible. Never mind, I will be able to support the Pink Ribbon Appeal later in the month. I've found myself tempted by the new Mecca 20th Birthday** collection but that's where it ends. Like I haven't gone to look at it because I can't. WHO AM I!?! **I actually grabbed nothing from this collection. Past me would've been all over it because #limitededition #essential

October 9th: Survived the weekend relatively unscathed. I came close to making a Colourpop order but felt guilty. It might still happen but at the beginning of next month* I'm also trying to work out where the lines here spending-wise might be blurred. I'm dealing with a bit at the moment and it's like can I justify self care related purchases?** Or is it just sneaky treat yo'self logic? It's a hard one because I don't think I should deny myself the opportunity to feel good, no matter how fleeting it may be. *It didn't happen. **For example I had a pre-scheduled (from two months prior) hair cut and colour which I obviously didn't cancel. Yes I could've done it myself but it would've come up terribly and I would've had to wear a hat for the next year. 

October 12th: So yesterday I bought some things for our inter-office Halloween comp. Skeleton heads and a web with spiders+a bloody floral crown which I think will look awesome. I've been so tempted by beauty things. I think because I want to replace my Kevyn Aucoin powder which broke last month. So I'm like ooh Cult Beauty, Mecca oh hey girl. I make carts and then close all the tabs and move on to some other far flung corner of the internet. I've also realised how I seem to gravitate towards the same three neutral lipsticks. Pillow Talk x Charlotte Tilbury and Modesty+Brave x MAC. I think at least two of them are in my bag right now. Right nowww. Haim reference. Nearly halfway through the month though YASS.  

October 23rd: I am terrible at this multiple diary thing*. One thing I have noticed is I am much better at window shopping. Why is it even called window shopping when it often entails entering the actual shop itself? Sure I have not been faultless and there's been a couple of slip ups. I have to be honest here.** Who ever is faultless though and how boring must their life be? I definitely am more considering of what I am buying though and evaluating things a bit more. I am liking that too. Long may it continue. *I keep 3/4 diaries so I guess it's forgiveable I'm not good at maintaining them all. **I repurchased the sculpting powder. Oh yes, I did.  

So yeah what did I learn? Challenges are a STRUGGLE. A real, legitimate struggle. Exaggerations aside, this was not always easy for me but I actually didn't do too shabbily. Even now I'm finding I'm being more wary of what I'm buying and trying to reinstate a one in, one out style policy with the likes of magazines (which very quickly get out of hand) and other things. I didn't end up rewarding myself with fancy earrings as intended because I decided they were too expensive but I am going to be renewing my Frankie subscription. Considerably less expensive than ear bling and a present through my mailbox every alternate month. So all is not lost. 
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October Book Mail

October Book Mail

The end of the year is always a busy time for book releases, as publishing houses rush to fill the shelves with plenty of new material for the crucial Christmas season. It's certainly not a bad thing and as you can see here, we are definitely spoilt for choice. Today I have nine recent releases to share with you, actually some are soon to be released but I'll touch on that below...

Winter* by Ali Smith: The second book in Smith's seasonal quartet is released on the 10th of November here in NZ and if it's anything like Autumn, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, it will not disappoint. Autumn was cleverly tailored to what was occurring around the world in 2016 so I expect Winter to follow suit. According to the blurb "it's the season that teaches us survival".

The Crown, 1947-1955* by Robert Lacey: Season 2 of this Netflix gem returns next month, which I'm really pleased about. In the meantime, there's this volume, following the time period of Season 1 to look forward to. I've had a quick flick through this, curiosity got the better of me and it looks like it provides context to the events of each episode as well as insight from the show's creators. This is probably the kind of book for true fans of The Crown but it also serves as a refresher before the new season. 

Uncommon Type* by Tom Hanks: Yes, that Tom Hanks has written a short story collection and it's receiving glowing reviews. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this book and from the reviews I've read already, it sounds brilliant. Words laden with wisdom and charm, as is to be expected perhaps from Tom Hanks. 

Trying To Float* by Nicolaia Rips: This book was technically released last year but the paperback edition seems to have just made its way to our shores. Written by the author at seventeen, it chronicles life and the happenings of growing up in The Chelsea Hotel. According to ELLE magazine this is "Eloise meets Wes Anderson" which is my kind of comparison so my memoir-loving self is going to get to this very soon.

The Mother of All Questions* by Rebecca Solnit: Kiran from Unity Books did an excellent review of Solnit's latest essay volume so go listen to that. Subtitled, Further Feminisms, it is a follow-up to her collection 'Men Explain Things To Me' which I highly recommend. 

Turtles All The Way Down* by John Green (not pictured): John Green's latest novel has been a long time coming and as someone who loves The Fault In Our Stars and Looking For Alaska, I was always going to be excited for this. It involves adventure, as two teens look set to solve a crime and locate a fugitive billionaire. It also touches on anxiety and mental health. I am actually reading this at the moment, albeit halfheartedly because I have far too many books on the go right now but I am enjoying it so far.

The Grip of Film* by Richard Ayoade: Moss wrote another book! Well Richard Ayoade did. If it's anything like his last book it'll be a bit perplexing but in a way fans can appreciate. In case the title doesn't give it away, Ayoade talks all things film through the voice of Geordy Lashore. Side note: If that doesn't sound like a troll's alias name, I don't know what does. Either way I expect this to be very entertaining. 

Me You: A Diary* by Dawn French: Wreck This Journal for the adults, interwoven with Dawn French's own insights and anecdotes each month. This is a fun, interactive type memoir and I'm seriously looking forward to using this next year. If only for the fact I get to spend each month with Dawn French in some capacity. 

The Diary of a Bookseller* by Shaun Bythell: I love diaries, they satisfy my inner curious cat so much. This one follows the owner of a secondhand bookstore and from the brief excerpt I've read thus far, it's charming and insightful. Definitely a book for a cosy weekend or trip away. 

-What have you read lately?

*Review Copy

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