Rocking THAT red lip: Mac Ruby Woo

As soon as the festive season rolls around, red lipsticks go straight up to the top of my must have list. Don't get me wrong. I'm one of those girls who refuses to let the season dictate what shade to go for. If I feel like sporting pastels in the middle of winter, then so be it. And the same goes for rocking bold, deep hues in the middle of scorching weather. But, come Christmas time, I like to abide by the rules and stick to the old tradition of rocking a red lip. Red lipstick. Such a classic. I'm not one for shying away from a fiery hue. The bolder it is, the better. And when you want a statement pout that packs a high impact punch, Mac's Ruby Woo is the one to turn to. I have other red lipsticks in my beauty arsenal, but this bad boy is the ONE.

I'm not the first person to openly gush about this offering from Mac and I certainly won't be the last. It has received countless raves and rightly so. Ruby Woo, a cool toned pillar box red with strong blue understones imparts a true matte velvety finish on the lips. I ADORE it. One swipe and you have an opaque coverage. It's a universal flattering red on any skin tones. I have yet to spot a girl who Ruby Woo didn't agree with. However, the intense colour payoff and impressive staying power (it lasts and lasts provided you don't eat/drink) come at a price.

As Ruby Woo is part of the Retro Matte clan, it is drying on the lips. Unsurprisingly, it becomes progressively drying as the hours go by. To minimise such dryness, good prep before application is compulsory. Exfoliation with a trusted lip scrub and a slick of lip balm are your essential best friends. Provided your lips are not already dry or chapped, prior to applying it, working with Ruby Woo should be fine. Quick heads up though: it's no easy feat. Due to the extremely matte finish, Ruby Woo has a dry texture, hence why I find that it tugs and drags on the lips when applied directly from the bullet. Thus, I personally prefer enlisting the help of a lip brush to apply it. This not only leads to easier application, but it also allows me to gain greater control and precision.

In a perfect world, Ruby Woo would be a breeze to apply, but seeing as it's the perfect true red and long-lasting, I think we can all look past the dryness that accompanies it. Just look at that thing of beauty. No wonder why it's been gracing my lips for the entire of December. Ain't she just beautiful? In fact, it's so beautiful, I've been known to be that girl who likes to slick this on whilst wearing my pyjamas with nowhere to go. Just because. To borrow the words of Iggy Azalea, 'I'm so fancy, you already know' or should I say 'I'm so glamorous, you already know'. Let's just leave it at that.


Braving the storm (self-doubt).... And surviving it

Over the past four months, I have learned an important life lesson. It's not exactly new per se. It's one that I quickly learned earlier on in life, but it's only within the last couple of months when it finally resonated with me. And that is to never ever give up. When that tiny inner demon starts filling your mind with nothing, but negative thoughts, it's important to brush it off and never lose sight of your goals.

This semester has been such an arduous journey. Seeing as it was my final semester, I knew I was in for an intense ride of emotions and never ending deadlines. But I never expected it to be that hard. With every essay I had to research and write, I lost a bit of my sanity along the way. The pressure to excel academically and maintain my GPA amounted to my increasing stress. The problem? I was the only one putting the enormous pressure on myself to succeed. To surpass all my previous achievements. My parents long instilled in me the importance of working hard, but also to never lose sight of myself in the process. You see, from as long as I can remember, I've always been my own worse enemy. While others had complete faith in me, I was always my worst critic. Instead of being my personal cheerleader, I would always find excuses and reasons why I wouldn't be able to succeed at something. I constantly doubted and undermine myself.  But time and time again, I was proven wrong. And each time that it happened, instead of congratulating myself and attributing it to my hard work, I was more inclined to attribute my success to luck.  It's been a long problem of mine and one I have yet to find the perfect solution to.  Trust me. I've been trying very hard. But sometimes you encounter those days when listening to your inner demon becomes second nature. Then all you're left with is self-doubt. And this thing called self-doubt? Not only is it emotionally draining, but it's detrimental to one's progression. It serves as a major catalyst for self-sabotage. For far too long, I allowed myself to become a victim of my own negativity. My life has always been a never ending roller coaster ride of feeling inadequate, constantly worrying about never being good enough and never believing in myself despite my past accomplishments that tells me I should.  And that is where the problem lies.

I've always been aware of this flaw of mine. But it was only in the last few months when I suddenly realised just how self-destructive I was being. The daily constant attack directed towards my self-confidence, brought on by my own insecurities did little to contribute to my personal development. I guess we all have those days when believing in ourselves prove to be a challenge. Be it due to self inflicted criticisms or a group of doubters, undermining your abilities, intelligence and talent. It's normal to doubt our own strengths, but when it's the only thing that occupies your mind, 24 hours, 7 days a week, you know you need to intervene.

Because truth of the matter is, as much as I tend to attribute my success to luck, that isn't the case at all. As the first photo rightly points out: there is no elevator to success. There are no clear short cuts one could take to achieve it. We need to earn it. We need to be proactive by putting in the hard work for luck can only get you so far in life. At a certain point, we need to plant the seeds, in order to reap the benefits. And from my personal experience, it starts with believing in yourself. Cliche I know, but it's true. You reach a point when you need to stand up to that inner critic and put a stop to all the negative thoughts it keeps spitting out.

I would like to draw an analogy between a storm and my never ending battle with self-doubt. I'm used to hard work. I'm not one for taking the easy route. I'm the type of person who always took the road less traveled. I'm no stranger to facing challenges head on. But amidst all the mounting workload this past semester, the emotional disturbance caused by my inability to believe in myself just made it that much difficult to handle. Overwhelmed with self-doubt and that inner crtic who continued to run its negative commentary, much to my dismay, I found myself wanting to give up, throw the towel and run to the nearest corner and cry. Gripped by the irrational fear of failing and insecurity, I found myself paralyzed, stripped off any confidence, logic and reason.

Just like being caught in the middle of the storm, I felt like there was no way out. I felt hopeless. Trapped. Reaching the end seemed impossible. But here we are now. I managed to get to the other side and come out a better person because of it. I braved the storm and I survived. How exactly did I manage to do it?

I have always thought that it is during difficult times, when you are presented with the perfect opportunity to undergo personal development. When called upon to face numerous obstacles, we can either wallow in self-pity and accept defeat or we can choose to put on our toughest armor and face it head on. Personally, I'd choose the latter. The road to success and overcoming self-doubt isn't easy. But there is a way to go about it. I find the key to addressing self-doubt is to refrain from fighting against it. I learned the hard way that the more you fight against it, the more it continues to fight back. Don't fight it by refusing to acknowledge its existence. Listen to it and from the moment you hear its negative taunts and insults, address it. Don't let your negative thoughts consume you. Whenever you find yourself saying you can't do something and the what ifs starts to float around, change your way of thinking. Instead of saying 'I can't' learn to say 'I can't, but I have the power to work on it' 

I have acknowledged the fact that a certain degree of self-doubt will always be present in my life. One of my favourite quotes reads ''You can't calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is to calm yourself. The storm will pass.'' - Timber Hawkeye. I don't have any control over the challenges life throws at me, but I can control how I respond to my self-doubt aka the barrier to overcoming those obstacles.  It's important to keep some things into perspective. No matter what obstacle you're facing right now, big or small, do remember that it will eventually pass.

Just like after any storm, we are presented with the opportunity to rebuild ourselves. A new beginning is bestowed upon us. Ultimately, our spirit and resilience is always going to be stronger that any storm that comes our way. It's just the matter of recognising that we are more than capable of rising above it. So next time self-doubt rear its ugly head in my life, I know I can silence it.

*Images all taken from google images.


Popping the MAC cherry (aka the haul made over a year ago)

Turning 21 has always been a milestone for a lot of people and I'm no exception. However, while others think of special and extravagant ways to mark the occasion, I only thought of one thing: it was time. Time for what? To pop my Mac cherry because despite being a beauty addict, I had yet to succumb to the lures of MAC. So way back in November of last year, I found myself taking the first step towards building my MAC collection.

Having never set foot in a Mac store before, how's a girl supposed to choose? Determined to not look like a lost puppy or a deer caught in the headlights, when faced with the extensive selection, I did my research. I wanted to purchase products that work double time, the ones that I know I'll have no regrets purchasing because they're so well -loved by fellow beauty bloggers, gaining a cult following among beauty addicts. Because nothing spells amazing product quite like a solid group of fangirling ladies, ready to sing high praises at every opportunity. MAC ain't cheap so this girl had to ensure the products purchased were going to perform without fail. After much debate, I settled on 4 products. Enough babbling, say hi to these beauties.

Mac Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle was an extravagant purchase, in every sense of the word. Coming in at 29.50 euro, the purchase of this famous, highly coveted highlighter was a risky move. Why? A) I had no prior experience with highlighters before B) I didn't have a clue how to apply it. But, I went ahead and bought it anyway. Why not start with a bang? Lol.

Soft and Gentle  is a warm-toned, peach bronze highlighter. I can't say that it leaves the most natural looking glow on the skin because it has a frost metallic finish. However, that said, provided that I apply it carefully ( At the moment, I'm using my Real Techniques Contour Brush) with a swirl over the top of my cheekbones, I'm left with a beautiful glow. It's the sort of product you reach for when you start to resemble a zombie, running on zero hours of sleep. It perks up the skin and just makes you look healthier, as if you had the recommended 8 glasses of water a day (okay..not quite, but you get the idea). It has a lovely soft powder texture and despite the thousands of rose-gold shimmers that runs through it, I don't find it gritty in the slightest.

Mac Peaches Sheertone Blush was the blush that's been on my beauty wishlist for far too long before I finally decided to quit the waiting game and finally give in to my heart's desire. After all, the heart wants, what the heart wants, right? (Selena Gomez says so, okay?)  You know it's time to tick a product off the list when you've wanted it for 2 long years. And what can I say? It's so worth the wait. Why I waited this long is beyond me. 

Peaches is a classic light peach with a matte finish. Being a Sheertone blush, one might assume that it'll require some layering to achieve decent pigmentation, but one couldn't be more wrong. Two quick layers usually suffice, leaving me with a nice pop of peach on the cheeks to brighten up my complexion. It's a matte finish without feeling heavy or powdery and it blends easily into the cheeks, thanks to its silky smooth texture.

To complete my little MAC haul, I opted for two lipsticks. Because, let's be honest here: It's not a complete MAC haul until you purchase a vanilla scented lipstick. Am I right or am I right? ;) For building my MAC lipstick wardrobe, I wanted to begin by layering down a basic foundation with shades I know I can use on a daily basis, with just about any make-up look. I'm a devotee of bright bold lip shades, and while I always deemed light nude shades to be scary options due to my unfamiliarity with them, I chose Shy Girl and Patisserie. Shy Girl because I've long been under its spell and Patisserie because it reminded me of my beloved lipstick fave Seventeen Mirrorshine in Belle and because my favourite bloggers Anna and Emma have it too. #copycatalert 

Shy Girl. Ah Shy Girl. How I love and hate you in equal measure. This light nude peachy goodness with a subtle dash of pink shade pairs beautifully with just about any smokey eye look I create, hence why it's worthy of my love and adoration. But the formula majorly lets it down. Despite being a Cremesheen with a supposedly creamy texture that is easy to apply, I find it unforgiving and drying on my lips. It accentuates lip lines like there is no tomorrow, hence why Shy Girl only comes out to play when I have the time required to extensively prep my lips beforehand with a generous layer of lip balm underneath. While I'm not exactly a fan of the formula, the shade won me over.

In contrast, Patisserie is as good as its name. It's the definition of perfection. From the shade that's a perfect blend of peach/brown/salmon pink, right down to its Lustre formula that applies sheerly but buildable owing to its soft texture. It glides easily on the lips. So perfect, I think an appropriate alternative name for Patisserie is FAULTLESS (hmmm. This is why I don't work for Mac. It doesn't have quite the ring to it, but let's just roll with it.) A great everyday lip choice. A+ all around.

Swatches (left to right): Soft&Gentle, Peaches, Shy Girl and Patisserie

This mini haul was made over a year ago, but because I've been super busy the past year, I can only share it now. I simply have to celebrate this milestone and mark the occasion by documenting my first venture into the dangerous, dangerous world of MAC. While all my choices were predictable and not that exciting, I personally believe MAC and I are off to a good start. A start of a beautiful, long-lasting relationship? Steady on, girlfriend ;) 

As of writing, I already added to my collection. Apparently this girl doesn't mess about when it comes to new relationships. As per usual, when I fall in love, I fall hard. Damn my foolish heart. (More on this later)