instagram 101 // my favourite filters, overlays and tips

Monday, July 29, 2013
Wardrobe things (from top left): Pretty pink Oasap bag and the current state of my Spring wardrobe. I'm getting a little excited because we are only a month away from the warmer months! A favourite mint lace blouse as well as some pearl and gold cat ears. StyleLately sent this beautiful statement necklace it went perfectly with my favourite cream sweater. 

My favourite Instagram filters: Rise, Valencia and Lo-Fi. I love the look of vintage photos so these effects are my absolute favourite especially when it comes to taking pictures of clothing or accessories. 

Food: My favourite breakfast lately has been fruit salad topped with organic Greek yoghurt, honey and all-brain or muesli, so filling and delicious (perfect if you want to start your day off well!). Fresh baked white chocolate and macadamia cookies, an almond croissant (so, SO good!) and fancy pancakes with ice cream and strawberries at my favourite cafe. 

My favourite overlays: I love adding special effects to my photos, especially if they need that little extra something. AfterLight has a beautiful selection of light leak textures and dusty overlays. They add a really pretty effect to your photos and fill in any white spaces well. I also like adding light bokeh to my photos using PicFx, the hearts are my favourite! 
Outdoors: The beautiful (this photo just doesn't do it justice, this plantation was absolutely beautiful!) garden at this Montville rental property was the most magical place ever. I stayed there for a night with some family friends (which included an epic mud fight, the most unlady-like thing I have ever done, mind you!), and old Western movies around the fire. This is a picture of the rockpools at Coolum Beach. My Biology class was taken on an excursion to analyse sea creatures and their behaviours and this was the highlight - so pretty! The cabins at our Art Camp in May, very appropriate, right?! 
Went out to get the mail and saw this magnificent angel cloud swooping across my house. Times like these when one really stops to appreciate the small miracles in life. 

Text and frames: Sometimes a simply white background is all you need, which is where Whitagram comes in! Perfect for portrait photos that you don't want to crop. ABeautifulMess app is a major favourite for me right now too because of the gorgeous and artsy frames and little drawings you can (very easily, I might add!) add to your pictures. 

Outfits: Pretty pink blouse and a gorgeous blue floral skirt seen here. Wearing the gorgeous StyleLately necklace and a thrifted sweater in this post. Frolicking around in the sun in a girlie, colourful outfit seen here and being fancy and French-inspired in this post

Tips: Share your pictures with your other readers on various platforms! I always share my pictures on Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter as I've found it to be quite effective to gain a wider follower range - so, connect up your accounts and get sharing! If I'm posting a picture of an outfit featuring a particular brand, tag them in it! If they see it, they like it, they might even repost it (which is like giving you a profresh 'shoutout'). Also, creating a hashtag for your blog name can help new readers find you easily. If you search #avenuemaria on Instagram, I've tagged most of my outfits so new readers can find me :) 

What are your tips and tricks?! Do you have any favourite filters, apps or overlays? Please comment and let me know, we can all share our favourites with everyone! I hope you have a beautiful day, love you all xo


Friday, July 26, 2013
Thrifted top and bag, Tempt skirt, Target shoes

This top came out for a rare appearance the other day! It's a thrift purchase and reminds me of Anne Shirley... I think it might be the puff sleeves and huge lace collar. Despite it being pink, pretty and costed a mere three dollars, it's an absolute brat to style! It's a square top with a cinched in hem so the only way I'm game enough to wear it is with a high waisted skirt so I have some sort of waist definition. Do you have a top that might be similar? I'm desperate for other ways to style it because it's way too pretty to be sitting in my wardrobe collecting dust!

How has your week been? This week was for me, slightly off. I wasn't getting enough sleep and things were starting to crumble all at once when finally I had a bit of an emotional *teenager* breakdown tonight that ensued the use of a couple of hundred Kleenex (it was like a cartoon; the tears just wouldn't stop!), a long, angry diary entry (that took a massive load off of my shoulders, by the way) and a strong brew of camomile and honey tea to knock me out (naturally of course). It's ok, we all have off days (or weeks...) and this was just another downhill in the life rollercoaster. Although I'm working most of this weekend, I might still fit a little retail therapy in as well as planning out what I'll wear to an upcoming dinner party for my friend at a fancy restaurant on the beach. What do you guys think of this dress with a statement necklace and gold heels? Hopefully it won't be too chilly ;)
Anyway, I can already feel my eyelids drooping (the camomile must be kicking in), but before I bid you all farewell, here's a few links you should have a peak at! This 'Things I Love' post by Kaelah is awesome; she is a link love wiz and these posts are done each week, perfect for reading with a tea or coffee on your lunch break. A video all about confidence was done by the lovely Kate and brightened my week up and this awesome photo series was clever and thought-provoking.

Love you all so very much xo

Currently listening to: Roses by Pacific Air

dear darlin'

Sunday, July 21, 2013
 Lace top from Mum's closet, Tulio dress (worn as skirt), Tempt belt, Kmart shoes, gifted hat, Oasap bag and sunglasses

Revisiting my fave photo location ever for these pictures... today was such a lovely day and despite the angry grey clouds looming as I type this, we've had really pleasant spring-like weather lately. Yesterday, I was actually wearing a mini skirt and a sleeveless top... and wasn't cold at all! Speaking of yesterday, I got half my hair lopped off! I haven't had hair this short (and manageable!) since I was about nine or ten years old. It feels really healthy and light too! I'm not used to such a length though so any hairstyle tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! :)

Anyway, I wanted to let you all know what I've filmed a video all about how my Roaccutane experience is going! In it, I talk about my favourite products for dealing with acne and acne-prone skin and a few other things that you might be interested in. It's here, if you'd like to have a look (and don't mind my bomb-site bedroom, I couldn't decide what to wear that morning and basically my entire wardrobe was on my bed!).

I hope you're all having a beautiful day and enjoy the week ahead, not sure how much I'll be blogging this week (it's going to be crazy!) but bear with me xo


mid-month reviews

Friday, July 19, 2013
Happy Friday, all! This weekend is looking to be absolutely wonderful ... I'm thrifting on Saturday morning and going to do some artwork on Sunday. Plus, I'm going to make the most of the free time and shoot a few outfits whilst I have the time. Anyway, I haven't done one of these posts in a little while, so I thought it was high time I shared a few current favourites with you all. Enjoy, and please don't hesitate to leave a few of your favourite things lately in the comments. 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte:
Ever since attempting to read Wuthering Heights when I was 13 or 14, I've always been a little intimidated by the Bronte sisters' and their classic work. For English this term, we have to perform a monologue based around classic literature, so I decided to pick Jane Eyre. I'm really enjoying it so far and find that the writing style is not as complicated as I thought it would be. Plus, the Penguin Books are pink at the moment, which is very perfect for Miss Avenue M ;)

Necklace by Colette Hayman:
This beauty was an absolute steal a few weeks ago. The store was having a colossal sale and I picked it up for a mere three dollars. It's the perfect mix between modern and classic and looks beautiful with a white blouse and printed skirt. 

Maybelline Mascaras

The Colossal Cat Eyes: This is my favourite out of the three. Paired with the use of an eyelash curler, this mascara is perfect for creating a pretty and simple cat eye shape - flaring out into a beautiful wing. The only downside, it smudges pretty easily and I do tend to look a little 'racoon-ish' by the end of the day. This isn't the waterproof formula though so that problem could easily be fixed.

The Rocket Volume: First impression was: huge! The brush is plump and is similar to the Lash Blast mascaras by Covergirl. I use this on my bottom lashes to bring them to life. It's perfect if you're looking for a mascara that will make your eyelashes look volumous, but not so great it you're after curl and length. Also, I wouldn't recommend buying this in waterproof unless you have an excellent makeup remover, you'll be scrubbing your eyeballs otherwise. 

The Falsies: The most well-known out of the three. This one has always been a favourite for me as it adds not only curl, but length and volume as well. Beware of clumping though! This mascara doesn't have a long life expectancy - drying out is guaranteed!

Maybelline Color Whisper in 'Pink Possibilities': A sheer, pretty lip colour perfect if you have dramatic eyes. I love wearing this lip colour when I've used gold eyeshadow. The two colours work flawlessly together. I was really impressed by these lip colours - I wouldn't call them a balm (they can be a little drying), but I love the semi-matte finish and sheer, buildable colour range. 

Ella Bache Sunguard foundation: This stuff is AMAZING. Oh my goodness. I don't use it as a whole-face foundation because it's not my shade, but it is a brilliant concealer. The coverage is fantastic and I've been using it on spots and under my eyes. The best part about using it as an undereye concealer is that it doesn't crease in those silly little lines under the eye. It also doubles as a heavy duty sunscreen so you're keepin' your skin young and preventing premature aging too. 

Maybelline Color Tattoo eyeshadow in 'Bad to the Bronze': The perfect taupe eyeshadow to create an easy, simply eye look. I love the creamy consistency the the long lasting, smudge proof staying power. 

Hamilton everyday face sunscreen: Something that I'm constantly very cautious of (especially since I've been on roaccutane) is making sure my pale skin is protected from the sun. This sunscreen is specially formulated for the face and can be worn under makeup. It's also perfect for acne-prone skin (bingo!) as it's non-comedogenic. The finish is also very pleasant; lovely and matte. 

Clarins instant lip perfector: This gloss is beautiful. It's very subtle and perfect for any skin tone as the colour has neutral undertones. The consistency is lovely too, very smooth and not sticky at all. 

I hope you enjoyed this post! Have a lovely day xo


Wednesday, July 17, 2013
 Target dress, Style Lately necklace, Thrifted bag and sweater, Kmart sandals

“Those days when you spring out of bed and you just feel happy for no other reason than that’s how you feel.”
— Tom Hiddleston

I saw this quote yesterday and fell in love with it. It's something that has really touched me somewhere I can't explain. I don't usually talk about personal things on Avenue M as much as I probably should, but at the start of the year I was desperately unhappy. I don't know why, but I wasn't satisfied... I just felt negative, but knew how to hide it well. I never had days like the above quote. I always woke up feeling 'meh'. I don't consider it depression, but I know it wasn't normal to be having such spells either. 

I've come a long way I think. I love life. I am excited about my future. I laugh and enjoy myself so much more and it's getting easier and easier to not care what people think. I have days where I don't feel fantastic but my outlook has changed overall... there's always the chance to make a day better. Whenever I start to feel unmotivated or completely hopeless it doesn't drag on... I feel like my eyes have finally opened up to see that there is always a solution. The bigger picture is a beautiful artwork and the present is just a small detail of the huge painting that is my life. 
I was watching Katy the other day, and she mentioned that life is so short. Make the most of it. And this quote from my beautiful friend Hannah's blog is something I love too: 

Fall in love too quickly. Eat the piece of cake. Dance in the rain. 
Wear red lipstick for no reason. Be happy. Watch your favorite movie. 
Send yourself some flowers. Go out in public without makeup. 
Try something new (Middle Eastern food, anyone?). 
Splurge on that handbag you've been eyeing for months. Tell that special someone how you feel. 
Take a chance. Take a risk. 

Speaking of happy, this necklace did just that! It's absolutely beautiful and was a gift from the girls at StyleLately. It's such an awesome site: the postage was prompt, the packaging is so cute and they have a marvellous range of jewellery items. The necklace I'm wearing in this post is available in plenty of different colours to match all your funky outfits. I had better skidaddle, I have lots of English homework to complete and I need to savour some of the limited concentration I have left! Talk soon xo

P.S: For those of you have been curious about how Roaccutane is going; it's ok. I've been on it for about 110 days now and have noticed pretty minor improvements but it's to be expected. Things should start clearing up fully by the start of September. In the meantime, I'll just keep pushing through, it'll be worth it in the end. :)

chateau (+ a brand new smile!)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

 Swaychic mint dress (buy here), eBay pearl cat ears, Rubi shoes, Oasap pink bag (buy here)

Notice anything different? I got my braces off, finally! I haven't stopped smiling since and it feels wonderful. I've never felt prettier or more confident in myself and am so pleased that all of those months of wires and metal digging into my gums were worth it. I'm just so flippin' excited!! I thought the day would never come! And it did! I have to wear a retainer all day for two weeks and then only at night after that. It's quite uncomfortable but if it means I'll have a lovely smile for the rest of my life then I don't mind ;)

How have you all been? I've been pretty quiet around here lately... I'm back at school and enjoying it! We've been getting grades back and I'm really proud of how I've done in most of my subjects but others... er, need some improvement.
And, how gorgeous is this dress from Swaychic?! I received it today and think it's absolutely lovely. I can't wait to wear it more during the Spring.
I'm off to revise today's History notes! Talk soon xo


Saturday, July 06, 2013

Stripes and florals are one of my favourite print combinations, so when I picked up this beautiful jacquard skirt from Tempt on Monday, it instantly came to mind. I've been taking advantage of the warm winter weather lately by wearing 'Spring' outfits. I wore this one out to lunch on Thursday afternoon, followed by a lazy evening reading and watching old tv shows (Christy!).
I can't believe I'm going back to school the day after tomorrow; I swear I was only just getting hyped up after waltzing out of my last exam, head held high. Oh well, I enjoy school (especially since I have a fresh array of subjects this semester) and it's not always good for your brain to be watching youtube beauty videos and shopping all the time! Haha! :) See you guys soon xo

paisley peplum

Thursday, July 04, 2013
Tempt top, Target jeans, Oasap glasses 

Long time, no see! That was slightly accidental; work has been crazy and I've also been catching up on some Art projects that I've (naturally) left to the last minute. The weather cleared up so beautifully today though so I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to wear this gorgeous new top I bought on Monday. The peplum trend has faded out a little but top was too hard to resist. It's very flattering, is beautifully made and is perfect for sunny Winter days. 
Happy July 4th to all of my American readers, too! I hope you've all had a wonderful day and have celebrated the Independence of your country well. I'll be back very soon xo

P.S: A few things I've been loving lately: this post by Elizabeth is wonderful. I've been wanting to talk about this issue for a while but haven't been able to put it into words. She is very eloquent and I think many of us bloggers can relate to it! This dress, this article and these shoes are also worth a peek.