Long overdue life update

It’s been a while!

I quickly lost the energy to blog last year as my life was taken over by work during the day and study at nights. My wonderful boyfriend, T, is credited to feeding me almost every single day. I made it through my Master’s with more grit and determination than my five years of university, finishing as one of the top graduates! I certainly feel a sense of smugness at the course coordinators who had heavily advised against students taking a full-time load while working full-time, haha. My favourite subject ended up being biostatistics, which one one of my two least favourite subjects in undergrad.

From October, I starting applying for job, though I still didn’t really know how I could get to what I wanted to do. Sharing the frustration with most applicants, I didn’t know how to get into the field to get experience when experience was an essential requirement! I had one interview but it was only a part-time role so I wasn’t too disappointed to not get the role. My Master’s finished in November and I finished off all my applications in a week before leaving for a 3-week trip to Europe. I actually had a Skype interview while there, but again didn’t get the role.

Returning to Melbourne in December, the end of my contract (there was mutual understanding that renewal was not a possibility due to funding, and I knew when I took the contract role with no renewal potential that it would be the kick in the butt I needed to move fields) and Christmas period was looming and I was officially stressed! I only had one interview lined up for after the New Year by the time Christmas rolled around and no one was advertising anymore.

I didn’t get the role in my interview after New Year’s, and had an emotional breakdown during my first week of unemployment. I’ve never been unemployed, and it was a tough time. I was really questioning my life choices and wondering whether I had wasted a year of my life pursuing something new. January was a quiet period for applications, but thankfully I did get an interview for early February, which lead to an offer a few weeks later. I started my new job on February 26. It’s been quite an adjustment from working in biomedical research to public health research. I still want to leave research, and hope this job will be a more relevant stepping stone to reach that destination.

In February, I also moved into T’s, apartment. We had decided this last year but I decided I really needed my own space to get me through my studies. Combining living arrangements and finances would help us save more money. We had wanted to rent a different apartment in his building but missed out on the single opportunity that came around in January despite offering a really long lease and quite a lot more money! We had landed on that compromise because the location of his building is better than mine, but I really wanted my green army to thrive, and his apartment unfortunately gets next to no sun. Now that I’ve moved into his apartment (and my goodness was that a struggle and a half) and I’ve been able to maintain most of my plants while giving some away, I really cannot be bothered moving apartments again! So I guess we’ll just stay here for the near future. In the meantime, I have turned my apartment into an Airbnb, a venture which is proving difficult and costly but I’ll give it some time to see if it can turn profitable.

Since then, we’ve been so busy everyday, barely managing to keep up with housework while still organising our combined junk to clear out or sell. The apartment is STILL a dumpster after almost three months! I hadn’t realised how difficult it was for two people to fit in a one-bedroom apartment, when we’ve both been living comfortably in our own apartments!

Last week, I flew up to Sydney with T and Mum for four days (with Dad joining for the middle two days) to attend my graduation ceremony. This will probably be my last tertiary degree (or at least I don’t intend to progress beyond Master’s) and UniMelb undergraduates do not get a hat (humph), so I really wanted to attend. At least I can say now I’ve attend the USyd campus! It was a lovely trip and we ate lots of good food.

We’ve just booked a short (by my standards) trip to the USA in September. Surprisingly this has probably been the hardest trip to plan, and it is likely going to be much more costly than the last two trips which were longer.

Food lately: July 2017

Pork ragu open lasagne (Romulus & Remus, Richmond)

I could only pick one outstanding dish for the month. I think this was my first open lasagne. The pasta was silky smooth, while the ragu was hearty and had a good kick of chilli too. So yummy.

Various cakes from Ganache Chocolate and Zumbo

I was spoiled by cakes last month. T kindly bought me various mini cakes for my birthday.

Beauty empties: July 2017

NARS Creamy Radiant Concealer (Custard): Still my favourite spot concealer. This is a staple recurring purchase now.

Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum: This has been my hair serum of choice for a number of years now. The smell is refreshing and it leaves hair nice and soft. It’s not holy grail material, but I’m happy with it. I love supporting this brand’s extremely proactive stance on animal testing.

Jouer Mattifying Bronzer (Sunswept): A few years ago, Youtubers were going crazy for this bronzer (of course there’s barely a peep about this brand nowadays). I purchased this in a gift set as I was running out of my other bronzer. While it was an improvement, over time I started disliking the warm tones that all bronzers have. I now prefer contouring powders and their cool and ashy tones. I didn’t technically finish this (maybe 70%?), but the design of the palette gave me a lot of headaches – once I hit pan, it was hard to get product on the edges due to the rectangular shape, and the powder broke apart from daily impact more than any other pressed powder product I owed. I decided to bin it because I was sick of it breaking off all over my carpet.

Mario Badescu Seaweed Night Cream: I purchased this in conjunction with a MD day cream which I talked about in last month’s empties. While this cream is a rather scary green colour, it was a good thick night cream (for those who actually like thick night creams). It’s so thick it has a balm-y texture. It is especially nice in cold weather when my skin becomes really dry.

Soap and Glory One Heck of a Blot: This is an average compact finishing powder. It’s not as smooth and finely milled as I would prefer. After a few months, parts of the powder oxidised (turned a bit orange…?!) and became really firm, so it became almost impossible to use. I also didn’t technically finish this because I could no longer get any product on a brush without using an unnecessary amount of elbow grease.

JUJU Cosmetics Natural Moisture Aloe Toner: I used a lot of products from this brand a few years ago. In the end I didn’t fall in love with anything but everything was pretty good for such an affordable brand (it’s Japanese). As I am least picky about toners, I used their toners for a few more years after I had tried all the other products. The toner is really gentle, refreshing and doesn’t leave any sensations on the skin.

Beauty empties: May & June 2017

Anastasia Beverley Hills Brow Whiz (Graphite): I’ve never done my brows or had a brow product before, so I just went with the cult favourite. I found this really easy to use in terms of creating shape and filling in sparse areas. The colour is also a great match for black hair. I don’t use the spooly though, so half the product and space is wasted, which is a shame. I’m already using my second one.

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner (Trooper): I know this is also a cult favourite, but I thought it was only okay and definitely inferior to my holy grail liquid eyeliners. I felt the ink was not black or pigmented enough, and lost more pigment pretty quickly, making the ink unpleasant and watery. It was also rather troublesome to remove with my usual oil makeup removing cleanser, so all in all not winning in any categories.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner (Intense Black): Another cult favourite and again clearly inferior to my usual two liquid eyeliners. The formula was better than the KVD one, as the pigment was indeed an intense black. It takes a more seconds to dry than I’m used to, which proved quite problematic several times as I ended up with it all over my eyelid after accidentally blinking (I’ve never had this problem with any other liquid liners previously). The most annoying thing though: THE FELT TIP WAS A NIGHTMARE. The felt tip was unforgiving, thick, hard to draw with on the delicate eye area, and the rigidity of the tip was also really harsh on the skin around the eyes and made it very imprecise. I absolutely hated using it and my eyeliner was perpetually messy. Based on this tip, I absolutely hated this. It’s also really difficult to completely remove, so it is definitely “stay all day”.

Kracie Naive Facial Cleanser (Peach): I’ve been using this range for years and years. The most recent time I stocked up, the packaging had changed. I’m not sure if I’m imagining that the formula feels a bit less creamy and foamy than before… nonetheless I still like it.

MISSHA M Signature Real Complete BB Cream (23): This was actually my favourite BB cream and I used this all the time during uni before I landed on my favourite foundation. So I dug it out to finish this year. The texture of this is wonderful and creamy, and blends amazingly into the skin, smoothing pores and evening skin tone while leaving a slightly dewy and very natural finish. The coverage is right up there with foundations – maybe medium-ish. The only thing I didn’t like is the white-grey undertone, so I always used a quarter of a warmer and darker foundation to help with the colour.

Nuxe Reve de Miel Hand and Nail Cream: Nothing bad about this cream, but it wasn’t that memorable. I’ve used better hand creams that felt better.

Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Day Cream: I got this and a MD night cream at the same time (for some reason I finished the night cream a few weeks later). I loved this day cream as it was the perfect texture and felt so lovely. My only complaint is that (despite using for less than the 12-month-open sign) in the last few weeks, I noticed the remaining cream seemed to have split or something?! It got a bit grainy and oily…?! I’m puzzled and have never experienced this before…

Bare Minerals Mineral Veil (Original): I’m not sure why I keep buying other setting powders, because every time I return to this, I remember how incredible it is. This is the only powder that keeps my T-zone not-oily all day. I’m amazed every time I used this. It’s a bit of a faff to use though, since I’m not a fan of the powders where you tap product out of a small hole into the lid and I find it hard to control. Nonetheless I have repurchased this!

Food lately: May & June 2017

Caballa Ahumada: House cold smoked Spanish mackerel with pine nut gazpacho sorbet (Movida Bar de Tapas, Melbourne CBD)

This was entirely not something I would have ordered. I can’t put my finger on it but in one mouthful, it was a beautiful combination of flavour, texture and contrasting temperature. The sorbet was definitely an inventive and unexpected twist. So yum!

Eggs and Waffle Benedict: Smoked ham and cheddar waffle, poached eggs, chipotle hollandaise (Seven Seeds, Carlton)

Sounds simple and homely on paper, but the amount of flavour packed into those waffles and hollandaise made it incredible. One of my favourite brunch dishes!




Regular and deluxe sushi boxes from Omakase menu (Kisume, Melbourne CBD)

A glorious amount of sushi for six people. The seafood was really fresh and the variety of preparations was wonderful.