27 Aug 2013

Mila Kunis Makeup Tutorial

Mila Kunis' makeup is one of the my most highly requested looks, and I finally got around to filming it. Mila has very large, "bedroom" eyes, so that's the feature her makeup artists usually emphasize. Because her eyes are so large, she can really get away with wearing a lot of dark colors, and black eyeliner that rims her entire lid. On smaller eyes - like my own - this technique can often make them look smaller, so when I apply dark makeup, I often apply a light color on my waterline to offset that. In this instance, however, there was no way to do Mila Kunis' look justice without doing the intense black liner she almost always wears.

Here is my take on Mila Kunis' makeup. What do you think of it? Where would you wear this to? Let me know in the comments!

My makeup tutorial for this look, or watch it directly on Youtube.

For reference, this is the exact look on Mila that I used as guidance:


Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hr Wear foundation 1.1 mixed with L'Orèal Magic Lumi foundation K2, Maybelline Age Rewind concealer, Ben Nye Neutral Set powder

Manhattan Summer Sound bronzer 01, Make Up Factory Bronze Luminizer

Maybelline Colour Tattoo in On and On Bronze, Manhattan Magic Up cream eyeshadow in Nr. 2, L'Oreal Infallible eyeshadow in 407 Gold Imperial, Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Ore, MakeupGeek Eyeshadows in Bada Bing, Beaches & Cream, and Corrupt, Smashbox Limitless eyeliner in Onyx, L'Oréal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess mascara, Ardell Wispies lashes, Revlon lash adhesive


Prevail - Central Spark


25 Aug 2013

Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

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Spring Rolls, Egg Rolls, Salad Rolls...let's call the whole thing off!

Anyway, I love Vietnamese food, it's probably one of my favourite Asian cuisines. I love all the fresh, raw ingredients with lots of herbs and green stuff. I'd pick Pho any day over McDonald's! Unfortunately there aren't really any proper Vietnamese restaurants near where I live, so I have to make it myself. Sometimes the ingredients can be hard to find around here too. Today I was craving the fresh spring / salad rolls, which are actually pretty easy to make. They make a great appetizer, but I just made loads to serve as a full meal. It's gluten free too!

As you can see, my boyfriend and I made a boatload!! I'll also show you how to make two dipping sauces: Coconut-Peanut sauce and a fish-chili sauce. Both go so perfectly with the rolls and offer a nice flavour variety.

I'll state the recipe exactly with the quantity that you can see here. This is enough to make 22 rolls and we had a lot of leftovers, so if you want to make about 10 of them, I would cut this recipe in half. We just stuck the extras in the fridge covered with a damp but clean dishtowel, and will eat them the next day for lunch. They make a perfect packed lunch for school or work too.

Ingredients for the Rolls

22 Rice Paper Rounds
4 carrots, peeled and julienned
1/2 cucumber, seeds removed, julienned
1 bunch mint leaves
1 bunch Thai Basil leaves
200g Bean Sprouts
2 medium-sized chicken breasts
250g shrimp (fresh or frozen, if frozen, make sure to fully thaw before)
150g rice vermicelli noodles

Ingredients for the Peanut Sauce

250ml coconut milk
150g Peanut butter, preferably the natural raw kind if you can find it
1-2 tsp Red Thai Curry paste
1-2 Tbsp Asian Fish Sauce
Juice of 1 lime

Ingredients for Nuoc Cham sauce

1 Thai Chili, very finely chopped with the seeds left in
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
4 Tbsp Lime Juice
6 Tbsp Fish Sauce
2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
1/2 Tsp Sesame Seed Oil

Step 1: Make the rice noodles according to the package instructions, strain, then rinse well under cold water. Set aside in a sieve to cool completely.

Step 2: Get chop happy! Peel the carrots and slice into long thin strips. The cucumber you can do the same way, but make sure to remove the inside seeds with a spoon beforehand. You can either pluck the herb leaves whole from the sprigs, but I prefer to chop those up a bit too. Rinse your bean sprouts and set aside.

Step 3: Marinate your chicken and shrimp for at least 20 minutes, or preferably overnight. For the chicken I made a very simple marinade of soy sauce, ginger and garlic, and for the shrimp I added a bit of lemon juice, ginger and garlic.

Step 4: Cook the shrimp and chicken per method of your choice. Stove top is fine in a sauté pan, but I threw everything on my Weber BBQ. Tastes better in my opinion, but sort of nontraditional for this dish. But who needs tradition when you've got innovation? ;) Sizzle, baby!!!

Step 5: Right, time to make the dipping sauces! Let's do the peanut one first. There's so many different ways how to make a spicy peanut dip, and I have tried many recipes, some quite elaborate. While those are also tasty, I pared it down to my own simple recipe because it's so quick and easy. Throw the coconut milk, Thai curry paste, fish sauce, peanut butter and fresh lime juice (I used lemons because I didn't have any limes on hand) into a container of some sort...

...then grab a hand mixer and mix!!! Wheeee!!! If you don't have a hand mixer, a whisk would also do the job.

And presto! You're done with the peanut sauce. I told you it was easy! You can get all fancy-pants like me and garnish it with some mint leaves, or if you want to be even cooler, chop up some salted peanuts and sprinkle those on top. Oh yeah, Chef in the making here!

Step 6: Time for Sauce Numero Duo - the Nuoc Cham. In a small bowl, combine all the liquid ingredients including the sesame oil, then mix in the brown sugar and stir until it has dissolved completely. Then add the finely minced chili (1 is usually enough for most non-Asian people, if you like things very spicy try 2. Totally crazy? Add 3. Actually, 10!!! No, I'm kidding. I can't be held responsible what would happen to you.) Add the garlic and mix the sauce together. Done!

Step 7: Set up your work station in preparation for making the rolls. I like to put everything in little bowls or on a cutting board, and get a few helpers to join in on the fun. They don't wanna help? Tell them they gotta help if they wanna eat!! Slice the chicken into long, thin strips, and remove any shell left over on your shrimp. Also get a large bowl of water ready for soaking your rice papers.

These are rice papers I used but you can probably get generic ones that are just as good and maybe even cheaper at an Asian food market.

Step 8: Time to get crafty! Let's rollllll that yumminess up! Get one of the rice paper rounds, and carefully let it soak in the water. Depending on the thickness of the paper, this might take anywhere from 10-30 seconds. It should be soft and malleable, but not dissolving. I like to work on a clean plastic place mat that I've slightly dampened with a bit of water - that prevents the rice paper from sticking to your surface.

And here's my sort of haphazard rolling method. I'm sure some Vietnamese Great-Grandma would probably roll over in her grave if she saw my sloppy rolls, but hey gimme a break! I've basically never made these before!

I pile the ingredients in the centre of my roll - first the rice noodles, then the cucumber, carrots, and bean sprouts, then either the chicken or the shrimp, then the herbs on top. Or something in that order. Does it really matter?? Nah!

Then I fold the sides in first...

Then the bottom flap...

Then roll that shizzle up!! Try to get the roll as tight as you can without breaking the paper. It's actually a lot less fragile than it looks, rice paper has sort of a gummy, elastic texture.

My first roll!! The pioneer on the platter...

Well I'm hungry, so I'd better get back to work. I have a few more rolls to make.


Time to eat!! My favourite part of this entire process! :P

I hope you enjoy this recipe and try it out! It's actually not that hard to do at all! If you liked this recipe, please take a moment to share it on Pinterest.


24 Aug 2013

On Spinal Injuries and Press Samples...

I've been a bad blogger. Oh well. I'm not going to make any excuses about the lack of updates here because things have been busy.

First off, a week ago I was rushed by ambulance to the ER, and subsequently hospitalised for 3 days with a spinal injury. I lost control of and had a lameness in my legs too. I don't want to go into all the gruesome details, but it was scary and extremely, utterly painful. The worst pain I've ever felt in my life - and I'm not being overly dramatic. I've never had to be rushed to the ER in the middle of the night before, so incapacitated by pain that I couldn't walk or move. The spinal area is where many of your nerves are bundled, and an injury that affects one or numerous nerves - well it ain't fun, that's for sure! Since some might wonder: no - it was not due to an injury from my workouts or fitness regimen. But I will say that morphine is one hell of a drug!!

Anyway, I am slowly on the way to recovery. I am back at home but my movement is still restricted, and there's still some pain. Sitting for long periods is uncomfortable. I'm bored out of mind, I can tell you that. Lying around watching TV or reading all day is fun for maybe 1 or 2 days, after that it becomes mind-numbing and depressing. I'm giving my body ample time to heal, because I want to avoid surgery if at all possible. I'll have to see how things develop. I currently can't film any makeup tutorials due to this either.

This also means that my #SummerFit fitness and workout series on Youtube will have to undergo a - hopefully temporary - hiatus. I was told to avoid any kind of exercise and fitness for 6 weeks! Maybe more, until I am entirely pain free. After that, I'm uncertain at this point if I will be able to do the same intensity of exercise as I did before, and I might have to look into alternative workout routines that are suitable to my injury. It's really sad, going out on my runs was such a balanced routine for me and a literal breath of fresh air, and I'm going to sorely miss kicking around the fallen leaves on my forest trails this autumn.

OK so now that's out of the way, I wanted to address something that's been bugging me. I deliberated whether or not I should even talk about this, but in the end, I think it needs to be said. It concerns my "What's in my Mailbox" video series, and some comments I've been getting, which need to addressed by me. I'll go through some of the comments and my response on them.

"You seem really ungrateful for all the things you're getting."

I don't know why some people think I am ungrateful, I thank every single company (both verbally in the video and personally by email) for all the products they send my way. How many times do I need to say thank you until I am deemed "grateful"? Do I have to speak in a fake, bubbly tone of voice, or maybe bounce off the walls? It's really a condescending assumption to make, because the truth is - I am grateful for all the things I get sent my way. I am one of the few Youtube gurus who publicly shows all the items and packages sent to me. Other gurus get press samples too, but maybe they don't feel comfortable sharing that so openly. I do it for transparency, so you can see what items I get sent, and which ones I buy myself. To me, there isn't a huge difference anyway. I hold products to the same standards, whether I purchased them myself, or whether I received them for free. Also, it's fun to film and most of my viewers love watching these videos, it's a bit like Christmas every time!

"Why would you say something negative about a product you got for free? That's so rude!"

Let's get something straight: These products are sent to me by PR in the hopes of advertising a product (for FREE no less) and getting the name out there to their target consumer audience. They are not sent to me because Company X wants Julia to have a lipstick just because they like me so much. Well, they probably like my video and the work I put out there, but they also know that there is a HUGE audience attached to my work - namely you, the viewer and reader. A big company like Illamasqua or L'Oréal or what have you, probably is not going to send out hundreds of dollars of merchandise to a Blogger or Youtuber with 50 followers. It's not worth their time or resources to do so. I'm sorry if that sounds mean or arrogant, but this is the hard truth behind online marketing and just how things work. In today's age where print media is majorly on the decline, online media and bloggers play an increasingly important role for brands. It may be as simple as sending some free products to a prominent blogger, in the hopes of being featured on a popular online platform.

I have worked extremely hard for more than five years to get to a point where companies send me their merchandise for free, because it is in their interest to do so. The brand stands a lot to gain from being featured on my channel. A recommendation from me, a link, or a rave about a product, means someone out there will probably buy that product. Established Bloggers and Youtubers have a huge influence, and our opinions matter. I have often purchased a product that another well-known blogger or Youtuber has raved about - who hasn't? This is why I am extremely careful choosing what products I recommend, because I know the influence I may have. That being said, what works for me, might not work for everyone else, of course.

Also, I want to give an honest feedback to you - my viewers and subscribers. You are my number one priority, not the brands! I honestly don't care if some company gets offended if I don't rave about their product because I didn't like it so much. My critiques are honest and thoughtful, I have never trashed a company. Our input might help that company makes changes to a product, to be more popular with consumers.

Does a Book reviewer for the NY Times get admonished for giving a book a bad review, simply because the book was sent to them for free? In what kind a screwed-up reality are we in that a Blogger is admonished for *gasp* speaking their true opinion on a product? These aren't "gifts" and "presents" sent to me, these are press samples sent for review. And that's what I'm going to do: Review them.

"Why don't you give that makeup away because you have so much? Why don't you donate it to a women's shelter?"

I think it's actually really poor form to outright demand that Bloggers and Youtubers do giveaways. You would never go up to a stranger or a friend and ask them, "Hey, why don't you get me a present?" Would you do that? I just think it's rude.

That being said, I have held numerous expensive giveaways in the past (Hakuhodo brushes, Canon cameras, Stila palettes, etc.) and I plan to do more in the future. However, as all the samples I receive are already opened and used by me, I'm not sure how I feel about doing a giveaway with what are essentially my "castaways". Also, there is the hygienic aspect to consider, as some things cannot be properly sanitised. I do give away tons of used makeup to my family, friends and colleagues, who can often dig through boxes of makeup at my house and take home whatever they like. I have never resold or made monetary profit from any of the free press samples sent to me!

About donating it to a women's shelter: It's a great idea in theory and when it was first suggested to me, I actually contacted a few shelters near my area to see if they would take it. None of them would take my cosmetics! Many of them said it was due to hygiene issues, and others said it was due to a lack of storage space for non-monetary donations. So that's the end of that.

Also, I actually enjoy testing out and using the products - I mean that's why they're sent to me in the first place. I love showing you all what new products are coming out, what is worth the money, and what isn't. If I didn't have PR sending me those samples, I would never be able to afford to show you half the things I do! For example my Halloween videos - those are some of the most expensive and time consuming videos I make. If I didn't work together with brands, I couldn't afford to make my Halloween videos and costumes as elaborately as I do.

Most successful makeup artists, and top Bloggers and Youtubers are able to get the vast majority of their products for free. We have all had to work extremely hard to be able to attain this opportunity. Many of us still spend our own money on top of that for makeup products, camera equipment, and additional materials to do our craft.

"I'm going to start a Youtube channel / Blog to get free products! Can you tell me how to do that?"

Please don't. If that is the driving force behind you starting a Blog or a makeup channel on Youtube, you are never going to enjoy the experience. Do it for the right reasons! You will have to put in hundreds and hundreds of hours, and maybe years of hard work, to reach a point where companies will contact you to send you samples. I have heard of one website called Influenster where you can sign up to get free products in exchange for an online review, that might be an option for Bloggers who are just starting out. (I personally have never used their service so I can't say how they work.) If you are already an established Blogger with a huge following, publish a business email where interested companies can contact you if they like your work. All companies that have sent me products have contacted me directly, or I have met them personally at events and business meetings. I turn down the majority of offers from companies to send me products, and only accept offers from brands that genuinely interest me, and I think might be beneficial for my audience also.

I hope that's cleared up some of these misunderstandings. If you still don't understand, then please just don't watch those videos and leave nasty comments. The majority of my viewers who watch those videos really enjoy them, and I enjoy making them, so I will continue to do so.

Thanks for reading! Hope you have a wonderful weekend.


4 Aug 2013

Dramatic Arab Eyes Makeup

Like this look? Pin it on Pinterest here

Eid al-Fitr (the feast that marks the end of the Ramadan fast) is coming up for many of my Muslim followers, and the occasion inspired me to come up with a new Arab makeup look. Maybe it's a bit too strong for some of you to actually wear on Eid, but I wanted to use really bright, fun colors. It was sort of inspired by my scarf too - it's a really inexpensive but great find from H&M!

Want to see how I did this look? Then watch my makeup tutorial below, or here's the link for Youtube.

A break down of all the products I used is below. Yes, it's product heavy but you could maybe narrow things down a bit if you don't have all the corresponding products or similar dupes. Enjoy! :)

Face & Cheek
Nars Sheer Glow foundation, Make Up Forever Full Cover concealer, Smashbox blush in Bare, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Mood Light

NYX Jumbo Pencil in Milk, Kryolan Viva Brilliant Color in Raspberry, MAC Bright Fuchsia pigment, Make Up Forever Nr. 92 shadow, Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Alluvium, Kryolan Matt Night Blue shadow, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Loose Colour in Datura, Revlon Lash Adhesive, Kryolan glitter in Navy Blue, Lit Cosmetics glitters in Material Girl, Roxy Rolla, Champagne Wishes, MAC Blacktrack Fluidline gel liner, MAC Pink Pearl pigment, Kryolan Aqua Color 070, Illamasqua Sealing Gel, Anastasia Covet Waterproof Eyeliner in Noir, Covergirl Lash Blast mascara, Ardell Wispies lashes, Eyemazing Shine lashes Nr. 47

MAC Spiked brow pencil, Anastasia brow kit in Blonde, Illamasqua Eyebrow Cake in Gaze, Anastasia clear brow gel

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tars in Interlace and Pris

Gina Tricot 67 Luxurious