Sunday Review – Rebecca Vaughan, Make-up Artist

Before I get started on the review, I just wanted to let my faithful readers (all four of you) that I will be updating this bloggery thing here and making it a more functional website.  Don’t worry, it’ll still be a blog but it’ll be prettier and hopefully more useful to the both of us.


A few weeks ago I was after a make-up artist to assist me on a shoot that I was doing with my lovely friend Elle.  This was to be a boudoir session and I really wanted to pull out all of the stops to make it good for Elle and also yield a good result for my own portfolio.

Because I am pretty much a penniless photographer, I put out put out a call on Facebook page for local models, stylists and photographers for a MUA/hair stylist to assist me on a “trade for time/file” collaboration basis.  I had a few takers but Rebecca’s images impressed me the most and I immediately got back to her to arrange her services.

Unfortunately I’ve been involved in a few shoots where the MUA has cancelled at the last minute or simply not even shown up at all. There have also been cases where if they did decide to grace us with their presence, they were late or ran overtime or just had shockingly bad attitudes and delusions of grandeur – and even worse, their work wasn’t as good as the photos in their portfolio had promised.  It all equals up to a pretty sour experience. So I will admit to bringing my own makeup kit with me, JUST IN CASE.

I need not have worried at all.

Rebecca is a relative newcomer to the make-up industry and is also building her portfolio but if her current level of service and professionalism continues apace, she will be one of the best in the business and I am sure will be called on for loads of jobs.  She turned up on time, listened to what I was after and delivered in spades.  Elle really enjoyed having her make-up and hair done and appreciated Rebecca’s chatty but professional personality.  With Rebecca doing her thing, I was able to do some planning in the room and gather my ideas for the shoot ahead.

Now, Elle is gorgeous already without makeup but Rebecca’s styling brought out her best and was complimented the style of the shoot perfectly.  I couldn’t have been happier and neither could Elle.

Shades of Douglas Kirkland's wonderful Marilyn Monroe photographs.

Shades of Douglas Kirkland’s wonderful Marilyn Monroe photographs.

Elle looked fantastic and knew it.

Elle looked fantastic and knew it.

You can find Rebecca on her Facebook page – Rebecca Vaughan Make-up Artist and on her own blog, Just Wing It. I’m recommending her to all an sundry now. She’s even doing the bridal makeup for another friend of mine.

Oh, and by the way. Elle is in her late forties.

Yes, you can curl up and die of jealousy now. I have a thousand times already.

Sunday Review – Blushie Bath and Body

And welcome to a new Sunday Review.

Those who know me also know that since I started losing weight I have taken a keen interest in not only making myself healthy on the inside but pretty on the outside as well. Which of course means MAKEUP!

And smelling nice, but mostly makeup.

So when I discovered long time friend and US correspondent, Megan, was not only selling her beautiful hand-crafted soaps but also tinted mineral lip glosses, I was ALL OVER THAT SHIT.

While not vegan, the lip balms are made with natural ingredients and smell lovely. The mica shimmers add a wonderful depth to the gloss and stand out on the lips.

I bought a handful of the sample size glosses because I had no idea which colour would suit me best. I need not have worried, they all look awesome. The glosses are very, very sheer with the first swipe leaving just a hint of colour and shimmer. They are build-able to a small extent but I found that more than about three swipes and the gloss tended to look streaky and uneven on my lips. I would suggest layering these over a matte lipstick or lip pencil that matches the the colour of the gloss if you want properly coloured lips.

The thing I really love about the lip glosses are that they really feel just like a lip balm. I’ve come to really dislike the “sticky” feeling of lip gloss and avoid it in preference of tinted lip balms or my trusty Lucas Paw-Paw ointment instead.

You can buy Megan’s Blushie products – including hand-made soaps, soy candles, lip glosses and balms and perfume oils – from her online shop, Blushie or Etsy. She’s also got a Facebook page.

The glosses currently run for about $8.50 each after the current exchange rates to AUD from USD. They’re still a bargain so go buy!

Anyway, here are some pictures of the colours that I bought from Megan: - Sunday Review - Blushie

Size comparison, left to right: Sample, Lip Balm and Mineral Lip Gloss - Sunday Review - Blushie

The lip gloss in Berry Wine is my favourite. It’s cool red-purple berry colour suits my skin perfectly. I wear this one when I go out a lot. This one is probably the one that gives the most coverage on it’s own. So pretty! - Sunday Review - Blushie

Golden Harvest is a beautiful orangey-coral, very warm-toned gloss. The colour payoff is great and the gold mica shimmers. This is probably just a little too warm for me but I love it anyway! - Sunday Review - Blushie

First Blush is a neutral shade for me. It actually matches the natural colour of my lips. It’s got a cool, white shimmer that is NOT frosty but adds a sparkle to the lips. Instalove. - Sunday Review - Blushie

Winter Rose is a slightly deeper than First Blush, but still very neutral on me. It’s a cool mauve colour with pinky-tan highlights and blue shimmer, which means it suits my colouring perfectly again. It’s another that I wear a lot and will be buying in full size! - Sunday Review - Blushie

Just as an aside, I also bought the French Vanilla lip balm. Yeah – as a vanilla freak, I will happily admit that this stuff makes me want to eat my own face. I’m too scared to buy the balm in Gingerbread because I may actually do myself some damage if it smells as good as the vanilla.

All images property of Megan O’Keefe, Blushie Bath and Body.

“I’m sure your client loved it!”

As a photographer… ok… a wannabe photographer… I enjoy perusing many different forums and groups on Facebook and around the webs for my chosen niche just to see what people are doing and to give advice or feedback. As I said, I am a wannabe photographer – I know just enough to be dangerous and I like to believe I can give a fair critique of an image based on my knowledge and also what I like to see in photographs.

In doing so, however, I’ve come to recognise certain phrases that keep popping up, particularly when someone posts a very average-looking picture.

“Does it look right to you?”

Translation: “The image is completely naff. Focus is off. Composition is all wrong. Lighting is totally fucked up. Why in hell did you post this rubbish?”

“Did you achieve what you wanted to achieve?”

Translation: “I could do this so much better than you.”

“I’m sure your client loved it.”

Translation: “It’s a questionable, ill-conceived pose – probably suggested by the client and you didn’t know how to suggest any better. Or it was your idea and you have no clue what you’re doing.”

“I like the tonality.”

Translation: “You slapped an Instagram filter on that, didn’t you?”

“Lovely shot…”


“I think that the most important thing is that you and the client ends up loving them and wanting to buy them.”

Translation: “Now use the money you’ve made and get some photography lessons.”


Translation: Actually, I am still trying to figure this one out. - Boudoir Photography

The glorious Ms E.

So how’s my tonality?

Sunday Review – Annette Piper Dip. Gem. Handcrafted Jewellery

Welcome to another Sunday Review – the blog posts where I spruik my mates’ businesses!

Last week we had gears and cogs, this week we have refined elegance.

Annette Piper has long been an acquaintance and inspiration of mine. Having met her through the Aussie Beading Forum, I’d watched her show creation after beautiful creation using the most beautiful gemstones I’d ever seen. We’re both attracted to natural and colourful pretties. Annette’s style is simple, her work really lets the gems do all the talking. There’s no fluffy bits or anything that takes the focus away from the main attraction of her work.

Not only is she a brilliant jewellery designer, but, as the the name suggests, she’s a qualified aficionado of beautiful gems. The girl knows her stuff.

Annette teams her beads up with sterling silver or gold wire and findings, making gorgeous classic pieces that will stand the test of time, regardless of the current trends.

You can catch Annette at various markets in New South Wales (Australia) and she also sells online via her luscious website and on Facebook. For up-to-date details on her market endeavours, make sure you like her page! She’ll actually be at the Willow Markets in the Hunter Valley region TODAY (if you happen to be reading this early enough).

Here’s a select few of my favourite pieces:
(Click on images to zoom in!) - Sunday Review - Annette Piper Dip. Gem. Handcrafted Jewellery

Nuggets of turquoise lusciousness. - Sunday Review - Annette Piper Dip. Gem. Handcrafted Jewellery

Striking green – brilliant for Summer and Spring - Sunday Review - Annette Piper Dip. Gem. Handcrafted Jewellery

Crazy colour! - Sunday Review - Annette Piper Dip. Gem. Handcrafted Jewellery

Baroque pearls. - Sunday Review - Annette Piper Dip. Gem. Handcrafted Jewellery

Oh the drippy, gemmie gorgeousness. - Sunday Review - Annette Piper Dip. Gem. Handcrafted Jewellery

This one is all class. - Sunday Review - Annette Piper Dip. Gem. Handcrafted Jewellery

Lovely crystal quartz. - Sunday Review - Annette Piper Dip. Gem. Handcrafted Jewellery

Seriously, this needs no fancy embellishment. LOOKITTHEGREEN!

All photographs property of Annette Piper, Annette Piper Dip. Gem. Handcrafted Jewellery.

Sunday Review – Germano Arts Handcrafted Jewellery

Welcome to the inaugural Sunday Review! I know a large handful of hugely talented and successful folks who all have their own boutique businesses and I figured this is the perfect platform to do it.

If you have a small home or boutique business, I would love to do a review for you. Feel free to contact me via my contact page.

Anyway, onto the review…

Teena is a relatively new friend of mine whom I met via other friends within the Australian Beading Forum. Teena has her own boutique business, Germano Arts and she creates some of the most stunning jewellery I have had the pleasure of viewing, fondling and eventually buying for myself!

Teena’s style is hard to describe. It’s undoubtedly Steampunk but with a pretty garden party twist. She has taken the current vintage palette trend of brass and copper and truly made it her own, adding cogs, toggles and screws and teaming it up with flowers and some of the most gorgeous sparkly beads you’ve ever seen. She sources her supplies from all over the world and even makes her own polymer clay and metal-work feature components and uses a combination of layering and cold connections as well as soldering to create her jewellery, all of which results in a unique and beautiful handcrafted piece which will last forever.

Did I say that Teena’s jewellery was hard to describe? Maybe it was just hard to describe in a few words.

You can find Teena regularly at the Kallista Market (Victoria, Australia) on the first Saturday of every month. She has also been featured in Australian Beading and has published designs and tutorials in Australia’s new Digital Beading magazine.

Online, you can find Germano Arts on MadeIt and Facebook!

Anyway, here’s a (albeit, large) taste of the kind of jewellery you were find at Germano Arts… - Sunday Review - Germano Arts Handcrafted Jewellery

Swallows and cogs go together like brass and copper. - Sunday Review - Germano Arts Handcrafted Jewellery

This one is MINE! After lusting after this double-drop beauty for the better part of a month, I practically threw money at Teena the day I saw it in person. It’s now one of my favourite pieces of jewellery, ever. - Sunday Review - Germano Arts Handcrafted Jewellery

A beautiful example of Teena’s polymer clay work teamed with her clever layering and enameling to create this awesome bib-style statement piece. - Sunday Review - Germano Arts Handcrafted Jewellery

Even the reverse sides of her jewellery are pretty features all on their own. - Sunday Review - Germano Arts Handcrafted Jewellery

Flora is a major feature of Teena’s work. - Sunday Review - Germano Arts Handcrafted Jewellery

It wouldn’t be Steampunk without a key! - Sunday Review - Germano Arts Handcrafted Jewellery

Lovely lampwork and crystal teamed up with filigree is always a winner. - Sunday Review - Germano Arts Handcrafted Jewellery

Teena sources beautiful, unique shapes and components to incorporate into her designs.

All pictures are property of Teena Germano, Germano Arts Handcrafted Jewellery.

Dear Fred Letters – part the third

Dear Fred,

Alright, I am a little late. Okay, 10 days late. I’m sorry. Your first month birthday was November 6th but you weren’t around to celebrate at the time so I couldn’t celebrate properly or take a photo (this will be remedied today). Your mum took you off to Far, Far Away to TSD and the Other Grandma whom I have resisted the urge to resort back to calling them both Fucktard and Skanky Ho, to spend a week – and then a week and a half – in their presence so they could pretend to actually care about you. I’m sure on some level they do care, what with you being blood relation to them and all. I hope so, anyway.

So, this month has seen us all getting into a routine with you and for the most part, you are a lovely little baby. MS was worried that you might not bond with her, especially after what happened during your birth but constant reassurance allayed those fears and you yourself have proved that no one else but Mum will do when you’re sleepy, hungry, crappy, or in any other way discontent.

We did have some problems with “le juice de boob” for a few days as well in that first two weeks and even after MS’s milk did come in, you simply couldn’t attach properly no matter how much she tried to help you. I think a point to remember here, peanut, is that waving your hands around in front of your face and prodding at said nipplage will make make it hard to attach. Refraining from doing this wavy-hands bit actually helps in the getting of the foods!

Ah well, boys will never be told. It’s got to be your own idea.

MS eventually gave up, preferring to have a full happy baby than a hungry unhappy baby and resorted to the bottle. Slowly the bottle has taken over all of your meals. We don’t mind too much. You got the important bit for a couple of weeks and that’s what counts. What she decides is best for both you and her is her own business.

Now, this is the bit where I say “STOP GROWING!”. Seriously, within the first three weeks of your life you grew out of the 0000 clothes and now at a whapping five weeks of age, 000 clothes are starting to look snug. Give the rest of the babies a chance to catch up! You’ve got a present coming to you from the states that needs to fit so I can get a picture of you in it.

What else have we learnt about our little Freddles? You hate the cold! Well, that’s your right. You earnt it. The night you were born you were thrown into an incubator, naked and squawling for half an hour while they waited for your temperature to go down. And MS is so frightened of burning your tender skin that she will not bathe you in anything warmer than ice fresh out of the arctic. You love the big, cuddly woolen blanket that MS wraps in you afterwards though, and the contentment on your face is the most bone-meltingly cute thing I’ve ever seen.

You also seem to prefer the “roo pouch” as your preferred method of transportation and the warmth of MS, as well as the constant motion, lulls you right to sleep for a good long time that lets us get the shopping done and home before you realise you have to wake up because you’re hungry.

Finally, you haven’t christened any of us yet, though you have managed to get yourself in the eye a couple of times. No, it’s not very funny. I know it stings. I’m so sorry for laughing so hard that first time.


Dear Fred Letters – part the second

I found a few more letters so I thought I would post some more for prosperity!

Alright kid, here’s the deal.

Stop throwing up on your Aunty. Please. I know MS feeds you lots because you scream for it. I know you’re in the shit/sleep/eat stage of your life at the moment, but please remember to digest what you’re eating because whilst it’s not the most offensive thing in the world to be covered in white, pukey-smelling stains, it’s happening now with such regularity that it makes me wonder if you’re keeping anything down at all. At the same time, I know you are because you’re pooing beautifully (as beautiful as poo can be, which is not very) and growing in leaps and bounds. You’re the size of most babies that are twice your age.

Anyway, to get back at you for the vomitous donations you insist on sending my way, I will be posting up pictures of you at bathtime that were taken yesterday morning sometime tomorrow.

And I’ll post the ones where MS didn’t thoughtfully drape a wash cloth over your dangly bits if you dare throw up on me again.

Then again, I might save that shot for your 21st birthday. Heh.


Turning 50. Again.

Back in August last year, at one of the last meetings I attended, I announced to my WW leader that I had lost 50kg.

“Fifteen kilos? Oh, Ren! That’s great!”

“Err… No.  Fifty. Five-Oh.”

“… Fifty?!”

“Yuh huh.”  You couldn’t have pulled the pleased smirkyface I was doing off for love nor money. I was so chuffed to finally get that goal. - Weight Watchers Graph

It’s been a battle of ups and downs. The 99.5kg is just the goal to break the 100kg mark at the moment and is the 5% goal of my rejoining weight. The actual end weight goal is somewhere in the mid-70s.

About a month later, my leader handed me an official certificate congratulating me for my efforts.  It now resides with my 10% keyring … in a drawer with my weigh-in books.

And pretty much from the day of getting that certificate it’s been a slow, upwards climb in the numbers on the scale.  Suddenly I was back at -49, then -47.5… then, a particularly low point, -43.  That week it was mostly due to emotional feasting on cheese and bread which now hates my guts. Literally. Can’t eat bread anymore.

The point is I wasn’t the coveted -50 anymore and it sucked.

Sucked big, chocolate salty balls – and I hate salted chocolate.

Salted caramels? Lovely. Salted chocolate? WHUT?

I digress.

Every time I looked at that certificate I felt like a fraud. Every time I logged into WW and saw that little star with the 50 in it, I felt ashamed of myself and my lack of self control and persistence.

For the past couple weeks I’ve been back, I’ve taken the bull by the horns – or the fat girl by the love-handles, as it were – and made a concentrated, determined effort to eat well, eat healthy and move my arse.

It’s worked.  Things seem to be moving again.  It makes me happy to think that maybe by Christmas I’ll be lighter than when I was in middle high school and fitter than I’ve ever been.

My goal at the moment – my only goal – is just to lose something every week. Doesn’t matter what, just something.  I am not setting any big numbers anymore.  I refuse to set myself up for a fall.

My goals have now shift from a number on the scale to doing something I would have been horrified at the thought of a few years ago but now, in some freakishly twisted way, look forward to…

Tough Mudder.


THAT is my end goal. Fit enough to do 20km worth of killer obstacle courses.

Fucking. INSANE.

Maternity Boudoir? No. Effing. Thank. You.

My name is Ren and I don’t like pregnant women.

Actually, I don’t not like pregnant women. I know heaps of formerly (and currently) pregnant women whom I love very much.

I don’t like images of pregnant women.

I don’t. So there. So kill me, you earth-mother-fertility-goddess types.

This has been bugging me for weeks now.


Back-story: I want kids but I don’t want to be pregnant. I find the idea of pregnancy abhorrent. Repugnant. And yes, selfishly, I don’t want to ruin my body any more than I already have. I like my boobs being mere funbags and my girly pink bits not being rearranged in the process of pushing something the size of a watermelon out of an opening the size of a lemon.

I also like not accidentally peeing when I sneeze, laugh or do yoga. What? I WATCH THOSE ADS ON TELEVISION. They wouldn’t be advertising for Poise if this wasn’t an Actual Thing.

And no, I do not believe you have to birth a child to bond with it but that’s a whole other rant for another time.

Yes, yes, yes, I know. Exceedingly selfish and twisted. I don’t deserve to be happy, blah, blah, blah. I get it.


My current beef about maternity is the images and photographs people are getting done.

A disturbing new trend has been happening in the world of boudoir and intimate portrait photography. It’s name is Maternity Boudoir and I cannot think of anything that’s more revolting.

I like the pictures of the silly or happy-snap kind where you can proudly show off badly designed maternity clothes and revel in the disbelief and shock of folks who were previously unaware of the capabilities of the human body to expand as much as it does (“OMG, you were FUCKING HUGE!”)… You know, the REAL pictures that show just how fucking exhausted and uncomfortable you were.

Case in point: - Maternity Boudoir

The sister, two weeks before she popped. These are entertaining, happy pictures.

I have been told that some women get randy when they’re pregnant and I understand that. It’s hormones. It’s nature’s way of saying you are ripe and raring to go for procreation. It’s great stuff. But I don’t equate pregnant bellies to sexifuntimes.

The “I am a modern-day Freya, worship the feats of my loins while I pose in lingerie!” sorts of pictures are gross.

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