Sunday, December 28, 2014

Op shopping tips: The lowdown on SHOES

Brand: Nine West
Condition: Brand new, no original tag
Cost: $8
I am an avid Op-shopper. I would even go as far to say that I prefer to go Op-shopping than purchase things from 'real' shops. The clothes, jewellery and shoes that I always, without a doubt, get the most compliments on are those that I've purchased from Op-shops because they look just like any other piece of clothing except that you haven't seen every other person and their Grandma wearing it.

Although I am a complete convert of the magical Op-shop, I know that not everyone else is. It took me a while to realise this though, for I could just not understand why someone might be unsure about them. Shoes are one of those items that can make people feel a little bit funny about buying second hand so this post is to put your concerns at ease and encourage you to explore!

Brand: Luichiny
Condition: New, with $120 price tag
Cost: $7.99
First and foremost is the obvious concern: scungy feet that may have worn the shoe before you. There are a couple of reasons that this no longer bothers me (although at one point I had the same view). First of all, I disinfect all the shoes that I buy from Op-shops, just as I wash all the clothes that I buy too. By wiping down all the surfaces on the shoe there is no chance I can get any gross germs.
Additionally, when you think about going into a shoe shop, seeing a gorgeous pair of heels and then trying them many people have done that before you?! What if they had some gross infection? Someone doesn't need to be wearing the shoes for an extended period of time to donate some of their germs to you so you are probably at as much risk (even more) from those shoes you tried on last time you went shopping which had bacteria from hundreds of feet that gave them a try.

The type of people who donate their shoes, in my opinion, a probably going to be okay. If they make the effort to go and donate them as opposed to putting them in the bin, they are probably going to be quite considerate about which feet have been in them. Furthermore every single pair of shoes that I've ever purchased from Op-shops (some of them you can see in the photo above) have been either brand new or barely worn. I've bought some shoes with the original price tags still attached!

So once you've got those worries out the way, I do have a few little rules that I stick to to make sure that my Op-shopping experience regarding shoes is as pleasant as possible.

Brand: Airflex
Condition: Second hand, barely worn
Cost: $11
1. Say no to canvas
This isn't a super strict rule (and if the shoes have the original price tag attached and have never been worn then ignore it completely) but I find that the canvas shoes usually donated are a little dirty and worn which you just don't want, and they can't be cleaned with disinfectant as easily. Unlike a pair of gorgeous Steve Madden heels (yep, I've seen them in the Op-shop before), canvas shoes brand new are inexpensive and it makes more sense to buy them brand new.

2. Don't get shoes so worn they are moulded to the past feet!
Very rarely do I actually see shoes that have been worn all that much, but if you're looking for a pair and you see that they've actually worn in to change shape according to the past foot's imprint, then it's best to stay away from them. Not only does it make them uncomfortable because they aren't able to mould to your shape, it's just not good for your feet.

3. Only buy shoes that fit!
Because you see all these gorgeous, expensive brand shoes for basically no price at all, it can be tempting to purchase shoes that are just a little bit too small, or just one size up. Don't do it! It's not worth the trouble of wearing ill fitting shoes just because they're beautiful and cheap! The beauty about Op-shopping is that even though you might have to leave on pair of shoes behind, you will be sure to find a gem in your size somewhere around the corner.
Brand: New look
Condition: Brand new (no price tag)
Cost: $12

4. Make sure they are reasonably clean
This is probably an obvious one, but if they are caked in dirt or have clay stuck in their soles, don't bother with them. If they have a funny texture with a stain on them that you think you might be able to wash out, don't bother. There are so many good quality, well kept pairs of shoes out there to choose from that it's just not worth getting the grotty ones!

One more tip is that a reasonable price for a pair of heels, in my experience, is $8 to $12. Of course, it depends whether the shop is located in a more expensive suburb, city etc. but believe me, I am an experienced second hand shopped and all of the heels above I purchased within this price range, a pair brand new with the $120 price tag attached I bought for $7.95. Typically sandals are the cheapest (I bought a brand new pair of Haviana thongs for $2), followed by sneakers/canvas shoes, heels and then boots which can be up to $20. If the brand of shoe is more expensive then it could go up to $30
Brand: Target
Condition: Worn
Cost: $8
if they are really, really posh but anymore than that is crazy I think! For those of you Op-shoppers out there I would love to know how the prices are for you because these are all Adelaide prices and I know Adelaide in general is usually a bit cheaper than places like Sydney and Melbourne, let me know!

I hope this helped those of you out a little bit who were perhaps a little unsure about the whole ordeal. I love Op-shopping so much and all of my favourite pieces were sourced from an Op-shop, you should join the fun too!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

NOTD - Festive all 'round

In my traditional style, I am months (years even?) late to jump on the accent nail bandwagon but whatever, I felt as though this mani called for it and I had been wanting to try out my Rimmel Space Dust polish for so long. I love glitter polishes however I despise having to remove them, so the accent nail was the perfect solution that also meant my nails weren't too OTT. I found Rimmel's polish Aurora absolutely magical! The accent nail in the photo was achieved with one coat, was so dense and beautiful in every way!

The base polish I used was Revlon's Creme Brulee, a gorgeous pale gold shade.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

My Beach Reads - December 2014

Although I love makeup and all things beauty related, my true love is actually books. Classics are my favourite genre, fantasy my least favourite and I often get down upon remembering that I will never have enough time in my life to read all the books that need to be read.

I've recently been given a whole heap of books for my graduation and as early Christmas presents (although I am super excited about the books I'll be receiving from my parents as per my request!) and I am bursting to read them, so I thought I'd share them with you. I've called this post 'My beach reads' however there is nothing summery or beachy about them at all except that I'll be reading them this summer at the beach on holidays. Sounds like perfection to me!

One flew over the Cuckoo's nest by Ken Kesey
This book has been on my 'to-read' list for so.damn.long and I am determined that December 2014 will be the time I finally get around to it. A classic novel about a character in a mental hospital, I think it will be an incredibly interesting read.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I've already started this much loved read and for someone who typically adores all the classics, well...I'm kind of disappointed. I'm about halfway through and for me, Pride and Prejudice just doesn't have the same allure as To Kill a Mockingbird or Lolita had for me. I'm going to stick this one out though and see if I change my mind...

The Hospital by the River by Dr Catherine Hamlin
Since going on the mission trip to Cambodia when I was in year 10, I thrive off of real life stories of differences generous people have made in third world countries regarding aid. I am really looking forward to this story gynaecologists moving from Australia to Ethiopia to start a midwifery school.

The King's Speech by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi
On the 18th of December this year I received my ATAR (university entrance score) and....I got into Speech Pathology at University, my dream career! This has been such a momentous time in my life and a family friend celebrated with me by giving me this book about an incredible speech therapist who changed everything!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
The world has gone crazy for John Green, especially his book The Fault in Our Stars, however I've always loved his less popular books like Looking for Alaska and an Abundance of Katherines. For this reason I am so very excited about diving into Will Grayson, Will Grayson, especially as it is co-written with another really good author.

A fraction of the whole by Steve Toltz
I had never known of this books existence until it was gifted to me and now I'm really excited about reading it for he gave it a glowing review! I actually wouldn't even have a clue what it's about so it will be a real surprise!

Well that's what's on my list for the next month or so...let me know what book(s) you'll be reading so I can add them to my TBR list!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New to my stash - NARS, NYX, Sally Hansen and more

I do this every year: despite the fact that Christmas is coming and gifts will be given, I can't resist bargains and end up acquiring all sorts of stuff in the lead up, hoping that I won't end up accidentally receiving something I've purchased as a gift!

Lately I've sourced a couple of beauty products that are new to my stash, some of which have already become solid favourites and others that are yet to be tried at all.

The first products I've added to my collection are two nail polishes, both polishes that I believe are quite festive. The Australis Nail Glitter Topcoat in the shade Eureka wasn't on sale (I know, I can't even believe I bought it!) but I wanted something to match my new clutch and this was absolutely perfect. Of course, as usual I am behind the trends but I've been enjoying wearing a glittery accent nail lately and this has been a favourite polish for the job.

Another nail polish that I now have is the Sally Hansen Lustre Shine polish in the shade Plume. I'd never even seen these polishes before but it was on sale for $5 and I grabbed it on a whim, totally sucked in by the gorgeous holographic (is that how you describe it?) nature.

Next I finally, after so damn long, bought a Rimmel London Apocolips lip lacquer in the shade Celestial, a gorgeous mid toned pink. This liquid lipstick is something I have taken a strong liking too, including the pigmentation, formula and packaging. I think I'll get around to a review on it some time in the new year, despite the fact that I'm probably the last person on Earth to have tried them.

Then I was at Target and noticed that they were having a 30% off sale on NYX products, a brand that I was so excited about when it first came to Australia yet haven't actually explored all that much. The two products I do own from NYX - a cream blush and matte lip cream - I love, and I knew a Jumbo eye pencil had to be next. I chose the shade Cashmere, a stunning pale gold shade that I know I will get so much use out of!

Of course it was then Essence that caught my eye and I grabbed one of their Silky Touch blushes in the shade Sweetheart that I'd read positive reviews on. So far I've been really enjoying the simplicity of the blush yet its beautiful pigmentation and colour. 

I was also so very lucky to win a giveaway on Abigail's blog, Shrinking Wallet, where one of the prizes I won was a NARS duo containing the infamous blush and bronzer, Orgasm and Laguna respectively. To say that I was excited is an absolute understatement, I was over the moon with joy. I still am, using the bronzer almost every day and the blush regularly. They are both perfect! 

I'm going to enjoy playing with my recent goodies very so much! If there is a particular review you would like to see, let me know! 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Maybelline Coloursensational Vivids Lipstick in Shocking Coral

I am such a seasonal makeup person. When Summer rolls around I just start to crave the bright fruity shades, lipsticks in shocking pinks and tangerine. The Maybelline Coloursensational Vivids lipsticks seemed the perfect way to feed my hunger for summery hues. The shades Shocking Coral and Vibrant Mandarin caught my attention from the moment they were released but it was only when I saw Shocking Coral on sale for $8 down from $16.95 at good old Kmart that I actually purchased one. It's just the way I do things, I honestly can't recall the last time I paid full price for something...

Well, this is certainly a bold colour. I tried so hard to capture its true colour in the photos but as always, they didn't turn out quite right. The swatches are misleading, for in reality it is not a hot pink shade but more of a fluorescent highlighter pink! I've included the photos anyway but it definitely isn't an everyday kind of shade like the photos might suggest.

Having developed a makeup stash that is way out of hand, I'm no longer one to shy away from crazy, bold makeup products but even I hesitated with this one! It's one for the brave who love their pinks. I think it would be perfect for a summer festival or chilling out at a cafe down by the beach.

In terms of formulation, this is a perfectly fine lipstick that is neither drying nor particularly moisturising, just in the middle. The lasting power is also mid-range, basically it is a lipstick that is not my favourite of all but perfectly good in every sense of the word. The pigmentation is great and it has a creamy, slightly glossy looking finish but contains no shimmer at all.

I quite like the packaging in all its simplicity, it's really easy to find amongst my stash with its bright case and the silver mirror on the top. I love that it's not one of those stupid lipsticks where the bullet extends beyond the case and you risk jamming the lid into the product every time you try to open or close it! Those lipsticks have really been bothering me lately! It has a slight smell to it, one that I couldn't quite identify, but it doesn't linger.

All up this is a gorgeous bold pink that any lipstick lover should definitely consider adding to their collection for the summer. I have a feeling that the tangerine shade may end up joining Shocking Coral in my collection because honestly, who can resist an orange these days?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Monthly Favourites - November

It's December, which means that it is the last month of 2014, which is actually beyond my comprehension. I honestly cannot believe that it has come to the end of this crazy year, but in all honestly I am actually relieved!

My November favourites are, in my opinion, a special bunch. I discovered some new makeup, continued to love old favourites and found an Op-shop gem that I've been loving.

My face favourite is a bit of a funny one this month because I've still not formulated an opinion on the product despite it being basically the only face product I've used! In early November I purchased the Maybelline Better Skin Foundation in Priceline's 40% off sale, totally sucked in by all the hype I had seen on some of my favourite blogs. I've used it quite regularly since and somehow still not come to a conclusion whether I like it or not. I will do a review on it eventually but I feel like I need to come to some kind of decision about it first!

It's really no surprise that the Naked palette is my favourite for this month - the moment I got it it was love at first sight. This palette is the most perfect combination of golds and browns, my two favourite eyeshadow shades. It does have a bit of fallout which is actually really quite frustrating (I never remember to do my eye makeup before my face makeup) but it's worth it because every shade is stunning!

I know, I know, I really am cheating here with another product from last month's favourites, but I'm simply telling the truth! I am completely obsessed with the Revlon Matte Balm Stain in Elusive, it is perfect! This is my go-to product when I'm feeling lazy or don't know what to wear. It is already faded and worn from being stashed in my handbag among all the other crap I carry around! If you are a fan of the original balms by Revlon or love a matte lip product, you absolutely have to try these out.

Pink and red shades are always my go-to nail polish colours but for some reason I just felt like going with a gold polish. One of my favourites is Revlon's polish in Creme Brulee (a poorly named but beautiful colour). It's a toned down gold shade that is subtle but still absolutely beautiful, quite a tasteful, classy shade.

Last but definitely not least is the other category. On one of my regular Op-shopping trips I spotted this sequinned clutch from Betts for only $4! It was such a bargain and I just adore it, having used it so many times! It's perfect for a night out with some gold jewellery and adds the perfect amount of glamour to anything!

November was certainly one of the most stressful months of this year with my final high school exams and the end of year celebrations but it was a good one and I am glad that December has arrived in preparation for what will hopefully be an amazing year in 2015!

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