perspective - my take on society, and myself

Thursday, July 28, 2016
"You have so much to offer this world, Maria. It doesn't matter if right now you're not earning a significant income, or that you haven’t been overseas, or that you’re not peace-talking to stop wars; what matters is that, at 19, you're contributing some sort of beauty to the world. Injecting a sense of the creativity, beauty and innocence that is so lacking in the cesspool of violence and hatred that is society. These qualities begin small; as tiny, seemingly insignificant growths, yet they have the power to multiply and blossom."
"There's no such thing as wasted positivity or good."

- something really awesome and profound from a friend of mine

'Morning News' by Francis Luis Mora

It takes me about 2 minutes to walk to my nearest bus stop - 3, if I am in a pair of ridiculous heels that will cause an almost certain injury to myself (or someone else) at some point in the day/ night. In that time, I seem to always have a mini freak-out that my bus pass is missing, I'll be late, I don't have everything I need etc, the list goes on. I get on the bus in the end, and sit down, already scrolling through my phone at what is 'trending', 'new season' or whatever ‘fresh memes’ I've been tagged in (that last one is probably my favourite part of the experience).

Isn't it strange to think that while this scenario is happening, me waving down a bus in a quiet neighborhood, on my way to have lunch with a friend in the city; someone; a man, woman or child, is living in a state of war, amongst debris, devastation and pure heartbreak. The only thing separating us being timezone and a vast stretch of salty water. 

In between a pair of shoes "on sale for $19.95!" and a picture comparing Melania Trump with Michelle Obama, there's a news report story about a bombing, shooting, stabbing, or some other form of violence that shakes up an area. This juxtaposition of content is something I will recognize momentarily, feel pretty sad about, but then eventually move on within the next few hours. There's something so wrong with that. A part of me doesn't want to acknowledge that this sort of thing is real and happening now. It’s this filter in my brain… “Oh, well, we will just push that to the back behind the “you don’t have a Dad” thing and pretend it’s not happening”.
I think when you grow up reading Anne of Green Gables, fairytales and generally very flowery fiction, it's hard to grasp that hardship can be as raw and as brutal as it truly is in Europe and the Middle East right now. 

Does it make me a bad person that I want to be ignorant to the perils of this world? No, but it's growth-stunting. No one wants to know about terrible events! No one wants to know that a priest was murdered for saying mass in a church in France. No one wants to know that every single day someone's life is turned completely upside down by the immorality of another human, or a corrupt government system. 
This exists though, and it's horrible. And while I sip my soy latte in a cafe and read a book about mystery, romance and suspense; it's happening. 
If I want to contribute to improving the state of society, then recognizing that the world is pretty shitty at the moment is the first step in doing so. I'm actively trying to weave my way out of this "nothing bad happens" mindset by educating myself more, reading, and taking up courses at university that cover actual world issues. 

My life is such a clean thing. My problems are often limited to financial stress, and or whether or not I'm doing well at uni etc. I don't mean to say that this is insignificant because it’s not, but when I switch on the news, and paw through the daily newspaper, it's hard not to think, "Man, I am so damn lucky." Because I am. 

There's just so much ugly in the world right now. Such much hatred, so much anger and discourse. It makes me think; how the hell am I helping anything by sitting on my ass and writing about beauty and fashion all the time?
There is always going to be a voice in my head telling me; "you can be more, do more, see more". I want to feed that voice, because I know she's right. She's right in the sense that, yes, I am destined for more than a life of mundane, superficial things. Instagram pics mean nothing, neither does that playlist I made. 
But, that voice is also a little bit wrong. Yes, Instagram pictures don’t really matter, but if that photo provides even the smallest ounce of inspiration to someone, then yes, that’s a great thing. And that playlist I made? That could’ve taken someone’s 3/10 day to a solid 8/10 because hey, they just discovered a band that they will probably look back on fondly in 20 years time. Small things matter. And right now, my life is pretty small. I live in Brisbane, I am young, I am naïve. However, that’s where I am meant to be right now. 

But it doesn’t mean I will be here forever. 

There will always be a part of me that longs to live in a world of perfection. Maybe I will publish a book about frivolity and beauty later in life, and I will live in a beautiful home and have a white, fluffy dog in a quiet, suburban street. But maybe I will also reject that life and decide to spend it going overseas, out of my comfort zone, spending time with people who need my help through English teaching, international media correspondence etc. Or maybe I could do both, confident in the fact that I am doing everything I can, as an individual, to better this world. Using my talents in creativity and seeing beauty in everything to add quality and depth to my line of work. I don't know where I am going to be in 5-10 years time, but I hope it's not the same place I've always been, and I hope that the positive aspects of life outweigh the negatives for all those who are suffering. I also hope that amongst all the sadness in the world right now, good comes of it. 

My heart goes out to all the victims of terror attacks, violence, injustice and malice in this world. Especially the recent suicide bombing of a town in Syria that claimed the lives of so many people yesterday; may they rest in peace. 

into the woods

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Temt top, Forever New coat, H&M skirt, Target heels 

Don't you just love it when you're lining up at a store with your favourite items ready for purchase (caught between a flurry of excitement about new clothes, but also morbidly reflecting on the major dent it'll have on your bank account), and the clerk says "Okay, that'll be $15, marked down from $70.". YES AMAZING, thank you! That is exactly what happened the other day at H&M with this gorgeous skirt... and calling my reaction thrilled would be an understatement! It was one of those pleasant surprises that increases your quality of life..  I was drawn to this midi as soon as the silver detail caught the light in the sale rack and I am still wondering why such a beautiful piece was marked down by such a dramatic amount! I love the way it looks with this coat, and think it'll carry me through winter right into summer! 

I'm home this weekend and it's been lovely and quiet so far. The usual; catching up with friends, filling my mother in on all the happenings of Brisbane life, tormenting my little sisters (and vice versa), and cooking the only dish that has a 0% chance of failure, every time I cook it. It's great - if you need a fool-proof recipe for a curry, send me an email. I'm your girl! 
I've got a fair bit to do before uni goes back next week - such as finally get the battery fixed on my Macbook (I spilled water onto it in January this year - a devastating event... many tears were shed), get a whole heap of driving lessons booked to prepare me for my test in August, and get my uni supplies etc.
Work has been pretty steady too this holidays so financially I am feeling way less stressed than before! Looking back on the last month when things were getting a little tight is actually quite a comforting thing because getting through that horrible period of having 'no money' was possible. Horrible, but I got through it. 
Anyway, I hope you're all doing well - hopefully I can get some more posts happening over the next few weeks... I might invest in a tripod and a remote too, albeit, nothing beats a human photographer. A tripod can't tell you that you're smiling weird and your hair is sticking out in funny places and you look like Billy Ray Cyrus. Thanks Tess... x

july vibe (a playlist + life update)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Hello internet friends (and also real-life friends that read this blog!)

How are we all doing this Wednesday evening? I'm part of the small minority not watching the State of Origin game... mainly because I don't really care. Ha!

It's been pretty busy here in Brisbane since I last blogged. Last Friday night I went to my first ever concert; Broods. It was absolutely amazing and much more wonderful than I had anticipated. Supporting acts included Vera Blue (who I hadn't heard of before; but after the amount of times I've listened to 'Settle' in the last week, I feel that it's fair to consider myself a huge fan) and Jarryd James (no words needed here really...what a legend). The show was topped off perfectly by an invitation to go backstage afterwards (*heavy breathing*). My room mate is actually cousins with the Broods duo so you can imagine my excitement when I was granted backstage access to have drinks and cake with 'famous people'. I still got Caleb's name wrong though (called him Jacob...) - because naturally I have to embarrass myself in every social situation. Overall, it was just wonderful and an experience I will never forget. Bring on a lifetime of more gigs and concerts please - I am now obsessed with live music!
In other exciting news, I am also on the verge of getting my driver's license... it's been a long time coming but I finally kicked myself into gear (pardon the pun) with this one. I'm about two years late to the driving game, but hopefully in August I'll be swinging a set of manual car keys and driving myself to McDonald's for a 'maccas run'. Because that's really the only reason youngins these days  get their license, right?!

The holidays are rapidly growing thinner in days which makes me feel pretty anxious. I'm not looking forward to going back to university this semester, but I'm going to give it my best shot doing four courses; and if worse comes to worse, I can drop down to three. I've been motivated purely by the thought of donning the cap and gown at the age of twenty - an enticing thought! Fingers crossed the stars align for me for the second half of 2016 and it's mostly smooth sailing ahead. If not though, I guess I'm prepared! 

Tonight I thought I would share with you all a playlist I made of some great tunes (old and new) that I've been jamming to lately. It's very random... like VERY random. There is probably five different genres in total... but I love all sorts of music so I guess this is a reflection of that. They've significantly improved the bus commute situation and also double as great in-the-shower-sing-a-long bangers... so enjoy, and have a lovely lovely lovely week.


Tuesday, July 05, 2016

The June/ July period is often a very exciting one for me, not only because it's Winter (and the colder months in Queensland are much more preferable to me than the warmer months), but because my uni holidays are around this time which means I can devote more time to blogging AND trying out new beauty products for somewhat drier skin. Over the last month I have been loving lots of things, including my favourite perfume, Miss Dior Cherie, which I repurchased a while ago, some makeup, and of course, skincare. Enjoy!

As a lot of you know, I am still on roaccutane (this is the second treatment process for me... read more about it here), so my skin is really, really dry at the moment. My forehead, around my nose and my chin get really dry especially, resulting in a bit of peeling and flaking, depending on how high my daily dosage of the medication is. At the moment, I am taking 20mg, twice a week which has significantly reduced these side effects, but makes the overall "getting better" stage slower. My dermatologist has made quite a few suggestions on what moisturizers and facial washes are okay for me to use, but with the dryness around my forehead annoying me a bit, I've been open to try a new face cream (so long as it's natural and gentle on my skin). 

A lovely woman I have been following since 2012 has just realized her own skincare line; a bunch of handmade, beautiful products suitable for a range of skincare types. Tabitha Emma has always been a major inspiration to me, as I used to gaze admirably at the beautiful graphic design work she did for some of my favourite blogs. In the last year, she's been juggling two little ones, as well as putting together her lovely skincare range called "Nourish and Nurture". At the moment it consists of a variety of face creams and lipbalms, but hopefully in the near future, there will be more goodies to treat your faces to! I would also like to mention that 50c from every purchase goes towards SEND HOPE, NOT FLOWERS. This charity helps save the lives of mothers (in childbirth) in developing countries.

I was really keen to try out the "Red Dust" lip balm and "The Glow" face cream, so I popped them in my cart and eagerly awaited their arrival. They came in the form of brown paper packages tied up with string (ahh) from Orange in New South Wales, along with a little info card and ideas on how you can recycle the little glass jars they come in. 
So, without further adieu, here is my review on these goodies from Nourish and Nurture

I am a very skeptical face-creamer. However, when I read the ingredients list on the website for this little pot, I couldn't resist giving it a go. This formula is very thick, which was surprising to me at first, but once I warmed it up in my hand, it melted a little, creating a perfect consistency for spreading across cheeks, neck and chin. At first, due to the thickness of it, I didn't think I would be able to use this as a day-cream and decided to stick with it only before bed. Every morning, I woke up and my skin felt really lovely and hydrated. It also worked especially well as an under-eye cream, which made it a neat 2-in-1 package. I ran out of my primer a few weeks ago though AND my day cream on the same day, so I decided to give this a go as a base for my makeup and it worked incredibly well! I've yet to actually purchase another primer and have instead been just using this and I couldn't be happier with how it makes my makeup look, and last. 

Overall, I love this product. It doesn't last me as long as I would like... but I think that's because I apply it very generously, using it twice a day in hefty amounts. It didn't necessarily clear up my skin, or improve my pimple situation (I didn't expect it to, because I am on medication for that), but it was very kind to my problem areas and soothed redness and inflammation.

  • Handmade
  • Vegan 
  • All-natural 
  • Very hydrating
  • Smells beautiful
  • Also worked for me as a primer and under-eye cream
  • Though it is beautiful to look at, I've never been a big fan of jar packaging, and always prefer a pump for hygiene reasons. 
  • Depending on how much cream you need, it may not last you too long. I've had mine for a month, and have just run out of it. 

I have a slight obsession with lip balms. I have tried SO MANY different formulas, flavours and brands... and I really liked this one! Once again, drawn to it because of the "all-natural" part and because I love macadamias. This lip balm is definitely what I would like to call a "kissing friendly" lip balm. It doesn't really have a particular taste, it makes your lips look soft and shiny, and it feels really good. Once again, the formula wasn't what I expected. It's actually quite hard set into the jar, and you have to work it a little to warm it up. Once you've applied it, it feels a little like having coconut oil on your lips, only thicker and a lot more hydrating. I love, love, LOVE the smell of this stuff. It's got a fresh, citrus-y vibe to it and is very comfortable to wear. Before this, Blistex was my go-to, but I really don't like lip balms that have a heavy smell or taste to them, so I ditched that one and am now very happy with my natural, kissing-friendly** replacement. 

Overall, this is a great lip balm! I love wearing it, I love telling (...forcing...) my housemates to wear it, "HERE, try this amazing lip balm!!" and it's natural, vegan, handmade, and smells nice. Oh! And kissing-friendly, for all of you lip-lockers. 

  • As before: handmade, vegan, all-natural
  • Love the smell
  • Comfortable 
  • Doesn't taste weird 
  • You get a lot of it. That little jar will probably last me about 6 months. 
  • A little bulky if you need lipbalm during the day and it lives in your handbag. It's do-able (to take around), but it's not a light-weight thingamajig. 
  • The lasting power... not so great, you would probably have to reapply it regularly. It's not a heavy-duty "This will protect my lips from windburn if I go hiking up a tall mountain" lip balm. It's more of a simple balm for everyday use.
  • No SPF! Dang it. Ah well, you can't have everything in life. To be honest, adding SPF would probably ruin the lovely smell, texture and lack of taste this product has, so it might be a good thing. 
**Now, I am currently single, however, if I WAS to be kissing a particular boy, I would want to be wearing this stuff, and he would probably want to be wearing it too. 

NOW! On to zee makeup. Phew! This is longer than I thought it would be. I've got some great products to talk about, starting with:

NARS SHEER GLOW foundation, $67: I am in shade "Mont Blanc". This is my new favourite, go-to foundation. I have been using this since April, and I still have quite a fair bit of product left! Everything about it makes me happy with my face, EVEN when I have pimples. The consistency isn't too thick, nor is it too liquid-y and it glides on super slick and smooth. The colour match is also perfect. I actually cannot fault this foundation and will probably continue repurchasing until I am dead... whoever is in charge of preparing my body for burial, please make sure I am wearing this stuff. It's great, and the lasting power will see me through. Mr Nars is also a legend because he actually recommends applying this foundation with your fingers too, which is great, because my hands are my favourite makeup-application tools. 
Only con; the fact that you have to purchase a pump separately for a whole $4 or $5. Annoying, but hey, it's still a pump. 

FULL N SOFT mascara, approx $10-$15: This is a favourite within my family of girls. We've all used it at some point, or are using it. I love this mascara because it does everything for me: volume, definition and lasting power (yet it still easily comes off in the shower at night). A few people at work have asked me if I have been wearing false eyelashes, which was flattering for two reasons; "Wow, do my lashes really look that amazing!!?" and "Wow, I am flattered you think I could even apply false lashes, thanks!!". Great mascara. Big tick from Avenue Maria. 

NAPOLEON PERDIS blush in "Blushing About": This was a gift to me so I don't know the price, and I don't think it's available anymore, but here's a similar one. This blush is really beautiful on my skin because it blends seamlessly with my foundation, almost melting into the skin. The colour is also very flattering. It's a lovely peach-y shade with a subtle warm undertone. There also isn't too much shimmer which is great, because I want my highlighter to stand on its own two feet, thank you very much. 

ESSENCE lipsticks in "On the Runway" and "Barely There!", $4.50: Okay, these lipsticks cost less than a cup of coffee and they are my absolute favourite go-to lipsticks for every event. "Barely There!" is my favourite lipstick and this is my fourth repurchase. It's the perfect nude for my skintone, it's pretty comfortable to wear, provided I wear a lip balm prior to application. The finish is matte, but not too matte. "On the Runway" is a very flattering red lipstick, that is very comfortable to wear. The finish isn't matte, but it's not too shiny either. It's very necessary to wear a lipliner with this one though, as it does tend to smudge. Lovely products though; so cheap and great for my fair skin! 

Thank you for reading! I hope you are all having a great week so far. Any questions can be left in the comment section below or you can email me directly at  

holloway... this way

Sunday, July 03, 2016

It's interesting, looking back and seeing how certain fashion icons have influenced my own choices in the morning when I'm getting dressed for the day, or perhaps the evening, when I'm going out for drinks with my friends.  I've been through a few fashion phases in my short life. They've included an obsession with looking like a porcelain doll (cue the lacy collars, abhorrent ruffles and socks-with-heels) and the "hideous vintage" phase that revolved around wearing blouses with unflattering shoulder pads and too-long skirts that doubled as floor-sweeping devices. None of these obsessions have stuck around fortunately (you're welcome to see for yourself... start with the 2013 archives...). There were some icons however that I look back on with fondness as I remember how much I wanted to dress like them when I was "older" and "more mature" and "had curves". 

The first time I saw a picture of Joan Holloway, I fell in love with everything about her style. THEN, I watched Mad Men, and realized that not only does she dress beautifully, but she's a pretty incredible and complex character too. To me, women are women, no matter what shape and size they are, but when I saw Joan, it helped me picture an older version of my younger self at the time. Joan's confidence radiated from her outer beauty through the way she held herself in difficult situations and her constant assertion when confronted with idiots. Joan is an important character in Mad Men for me because she is such an independent woman. She respects herself, therefore other's respect her. That's the type of woman I want to be. Confident, self-assured and perfectly content with who I am. Sure, she has her flaws, but her positive attributes and triumphs were what left me with something to think about when the screen went blank after the end of an episode. 

"Well, Marilyn's really a Joan, not the other way around"

This outfit reminds me of Joan. Replace the denim jacket with a camel-coloured coat and I feel like it's something she would've worn on a Monday morning to the office... making important phone calls, firing people who can't do their job properly and well, being a boss-woman who deserves all the success possible!

WEARING: H&M top, Dotti skirt, Target jacket, Rayban specs
LISTENING TO: This Night by Billy Joel

I'M ON MY WAY // winter uniform

Friday, July 01, 2016

 Tokito blouse, Target jeans, Topshop shoes

I can't even remember whether I made it clear just how excited I am about being on holidays! Yes, it's true. I've got three weeks of pure bliss ahead of me. And since I clicked publish on the last couple of posts, life has significantly improved. The end of financial year has been a benefit in a number of areas of my life; most importantly, it's meant that Centrelink has upped my fortnightly pay by such a sum that a lot of my financial trouble will be relieved for the second half of the year. It's still not a lot that I will be getting, but when you're a student with multiple bills to pay and minimal work hours, every penny helps. Which leads me to my next point... I'm still not sure whether I will actually continue my studies for next semester (hopefully will come to a conclusion by next week). It's tough because I am halfway through my degree and if I keep going, I will be a graduate at 20, which is an immensely enticing thought. However, it all comes down to money, really. Being poor and having that financial strain adds to a degree that I'm not really enjoying; making it unbearable... which I have already emphasized enough! Ha. 

Anyway, onto more positive things - I am home again with my family, which has been a lot of fun. Basically, my time here consists of watching romcoms with my little sisters, eating WAY TOO MANY cookies, making dance movies and doing what sisters do... muck around and squabble with a bounce back rate of about 3 mins after an argument. Living the dream!
I'm feeling vastly more optimistic about life because of plans for the next few weeks; some friends and I are going on a road trip to NSW to go camping and bush walking in single digit weather (which will be very cold and very fun... and great driving experience for me!). I am also going to be my FIRST EVER concert too, so that's exciting. Apparently there's this thing called a moshpit? Not sure what that is but I will let you know how it goes. 
I hope wherever you are, or whatever you are doing, you are happy, and you have a great weekend/ week/ life. Over and out!

P.S: These jeans are called "Girlfriend" jeans, and are a slightly more fitted version of the "Boyfriend" jean that were popular a few years ago. Winter in Queensland is very mild, so this is basically what I wear every day when it's chilly. Sartorial life is quite simple these days when you're not sweating like a piglet in the sun, and there's a lovely fresh breeze blowing almost always. 

Currently listening to: I'm On My Way by The Proclaimers