November 23, 2014

The Graduating Class

To be nothing less than frank and honest, I was a slacker during my university days. I entered higher education as a young and idealistic soul, full of enthusiasm in the pursuit of those few letters that would sit behind my name. That wide eyed enthusiasm lasted likely all of the first month of my first semester. Devoid of the rules and structure that had dominated the prior five years of my education, I was free to do as I please. If I didn't show up to my lectures, nobody knew or even cared. Upon discovering that some of my tutorials didn't even require attendance, it felt like I had hit the jackpot. I had found myself in what my seventeen-going-on-eighteen self would consider to be utopia.

My approach for the next three and a bit years did not deviate much from the easy pace I developed after that first month. My fellow students did not seem to put in more hours and more effort than me, they almost certainly did. Despite my lackadaisical approach, I graduated with better than average grades and most importantly, received those all important letters behind my name. Recalling this time of my life, it was an experience that I did not truly appreciate until it was over. There's something about student life as a young adult which cannot be replicated even if I chose to further my studies now as a not-so-young adult.

Though I have no qualms in calling myself a lazy and less than committed student, I highly doubt the same could be applied to this year's graduating class of fashion design students from Polytechnic West. Dubbing themselves the Umbra Collective, the work of these exceptionally talented women continue to reaffirm in my mind the enormous amount of talent and creativity that comes out of Western Australia. It frustrates me when I hear the constant moans regarding the perceived lack of talent in this state, and in particular, Perth. Those who don't believe we are overflowing with talent, intelligence and creativity should perhaps take a wider look around the ever increasing creative community and in doing so, will surely have their minds blown.

In recognition and celebration of completing their studies, the fourteen ladies making up the Umbra Collective wowed their family, friends and members of the public (including me!) with a fashion show held on Thursday night at the Claremont Showgrounds. A sample collection from each graduating student was paraded up and down the runway, the culmination of their years of hard work and dedication.

Designer: Melanie Cooper
Designer: Melanie Cooper

So impressive was the standard of their designs that I very much look forward to seeing where these ladies go in the next few years in their future careers in the fashion industry. It's always wonderful to see emerging talent appreciated and most importantly encouraged and nurtured on a personal and professional level. Having reached the next stage of their careers, I wish the entire Umbra Collective a beautiful journey forward. If it is anything like what was seen on Thursday night, the future is no doubt going to look good.


Designs by Holly Mumford. Beautiful colours and geometric prints. A very fun but still sophisticated collection that suits life in Perth perfectly. 

Designs by Natalie Fullwood. Classic, elegant and feminine. 

Designs by Jasmine Nash. Wonderfully dreamy bridal creations. The tea length dresses are very modern whilst still classic and no less of a wedding dress due to the beautiful use of fabrics, laces and beading.

Designs by Sarah Hua. The use of ropes to embellish the outfits added a literal twist to the fresh nautical theme.


My favourite collection of the evening. Designs by Rosemaree White. Every outfit was absolutely incredible. Very luxurious in the use of laces, beading and feathers creating beautiful textures. Feminine and sensual pieces that I would most definitely love to have hanging in my wardrobe. 

November 12, 2014

Lash Game Strong

It wasn't until it came time for my thirtieth birthday party this year that I donned my first pair of false eyelashes. I had given my make up artist a very clear Pinterest picture of how I wanted to look and she did a stellar job. Shout out to Grace Mae for getting my hair and face did. 

She came equipped with her little kit of lashes and carefully snipped them to size, then gave me the instructions to stay still while she pressed them against my lash line. They completely transformed how I looked although to be honest at first glance in the mirror I was imagining myself looking a bit Tammy Faye Bakker. Of course I didn't, but for someone who had only ever known how she looked with her natural lashes (and I'm almost always mascara free) it was a small shock. After a few minutes I realized how good it all looked and being thrilled with my overall look and long luscious lashes made me think that I might want to add some falsies to my makeup regime on the regular. 

Not too long ago I was contacted by Perth business Manyfruits who wanted to offer me the opportunity to test out some of their beauty products; lo and behold, what did they send me? False eyelashes! I was a bit terrified at having to apply them myself. It's all well and good having a makeup artist do it but when I'm being left to my own devices it gets a little trickier. After watching a few videos I felt confident enough to give it a go. 

What I was sent were four different lash styles, all Red Cherry Eyelashes brand. They're produced from human hair, which was a surprise to me but I guess if wigs and extensions are made out of human hair, why not lashes too, right? 

As a complete newbie to the eyelash game, the first couple of attempts were a complete failure. I found for me the easiest way to apply the lashes was to stretch my eyelid across while closed and affix the lashes that way. I may have also cut a pair slightly too short, but you learn!

Having myself photographed with the lashes was interesting. Standing there screaming "why are you so close?! Stand back! It's too close!" is sure to confuse the person who you've told to take photos of your eyelashes. Well, I didn't mean it so literally. Sheesh. 

You'll have to give me a pass if some of the lashes look poorly positioned. I'm still learning! You'll also notice the lack of eyeliner. I don't wear eyeliner and I wanted to show you how these lashes look on me as how I would normally be made up, which is a very light and natural application of makeup.

Let the close up photos begin.

The WSP Lash

This is the first style I tried so I think I put them on a little wonky. I wore them to a friend's birthday and while I was driving there I could no longer feel them so I thought they fell off! This wasn't the case and I did start to find that after a few minutes of wearing them it was no longer apparent I had them on, as long as I had them stuck on properly. 

Some type of weird hand pose going on

The WSP, or Wispy, lashes have varying lengths of lash distributed evenly along the lash line. They aren't overly long or full so they give a nice natural look with just a bit of oomph. I think these are a really great style of lash to wear as they definitely look real, in fact someone thought these were my real lashes, and just give your eyes that little extra bit of attention. I wore these with mascara so once the night was done I threw them away. All the Red Cherry lashes can be worn multiple times but if I have used mascara on them I prefer to only wear them once. 

The #40 Lash

The Bedroom Eyes. Yep. In the packaging these lashes looked quite daunting. I was really apprehensive about trying them but hot damn, these look amazing! As you can tell, they are extremely full in length and volume and as a result are very black. No mascara needed. 

Very glamourous looking for a special night out, or in. I'm sure you know what I mean.

The positioning on my left (your right) eye is not quite right, but what you gonna do when they're already stuck on?!

The #747S Lash

These are very subtle. Whilst long in length, they are not too full in volume and are probably the best of the four to wear as an everyday lash, if you are so inclined to do so. 

Being light on the volume, the liner on the lash can be noticeable so these are probably best worn with mascara and eyeliner. 

The #103 Lash

These are long in length with full volume. Very blunt in their style, kinda like bangs for your eyes. These were my least preferred of all the styles. The individual lashes are clumped together along the lash line and look very pronounced, which I didn't like. Length wise they were great though, however the overall look wasn't for me. 

The WSP lashes would be my top pick of the four styles as they are versatile enough to be worn night or day without being too much for the day time or not dramatic enough for night. A special mention for the #40 though. If you're wanting to turn your sexy on, these are it.

All these lashes are available from Manyfruits website. They're very affordable too, starting at $5.50 a pair. 

November 02, 2014

Gifting All The Way

Christmas season is upon us once again. Don't try to ignore it. It's already November and the days won't stop ticking along just because you're not ready. I don't really exchange Christmas gifts with many people but I really do enjoy the process of finding just the right gift for a person and being creative and imaginative with it. Last year I was completely surprised with a Christmas gift from someone I hadn't expected to receive a gift from and of course I had nothing to give in return. I understand that the concept of presents comes with no expectations or obligations and are given unconditionally, but if someone gives me a gift I of course want to give one back. It had to happen as well that the unexpected gift was given to me on Christmas Eve which left no time to find a suitable gift to give in return before Christmas and really, who wants to spend the last frantic hours before Christmas trying their luck in the department stores? Using this as my excuse it bought me some time to think up the perfect gift and I spent the next few days after Christmas getting together all the bits and pieces. To be honest, I was pretty damn impressed with my efficiency. However, had Myer's Giftorium been around I probably could have got myself sorted with that gift on Christmas Eve with enough time left to put together a batch of chilled egg nog.

Launching on November 8, the Giftorium is like having Santa's workshop at your nearest Myer store. Taking the frustration out of Christmas gift shopping, Myer has already hand picked the perfect present for any and every body in your life. With twelve different Christmas themes such as Dapper Dad, Miracle Mum and Food Fanatic, it's sure to make shopping easier for you so that you can kick your feet up a lot sooner with that glass of egg nog.

I was invited to the media launch event organized by Myer a couple weeks ago introducing this new shopping concept and got to have a special preview of what the Giftorium is all about. I enjoyed myself just as much during the event as I did browsing through the Giftorium. I brought my little cousin along with me as the organizers welcomed us to bring children, if we had them, and I don't so I borrowed her for the day. With face painters and balloon artists on hand, she had a great time being made over as a tiger while enjoying the delicious dessert buffet.

The selection of gifts under the twelve different themes cover all budgets and there's enough variety to suit just about anyone. One thing that I found really special was the R&A Leather Gift Monogram Station. This monogram service is available with any of the leather goods in the range and something like that really adds a nice touch, especially when it's a gift.

Every Myer store in Australia will have a Giftorium and each store will also host a range of activities in the lead up to Christmas. Something new which has never been offered by Myer before is their Same Day Elf Delivery service which sees your gift delivered within a 2km radius of the CBD by a fleet of uniformed elves! How cute is that?! I want to use that service just to have something delivered to me by elves!

Myer was also very generous in gifting me with my own Sodastream system, which looks to be one of the must-have products of the coming season, and I also received a Kambrook Blitz2Go blender which is such a handy item to have in my kitchen! My smoothie making in the morning is so quick and easy now. Both products are available in the Giftorium and they're definitely worth checking out. I've seen quite a few people make really interesting drinks with their Sodastream and for someone who enjoys sparkling water it eliminates the need to keep stocking up on the bottled variety.

I'm a huge advocate for anything that makes life that little bit easier and the Giftorium definitely does that. In addition to the great selection of gifts, all the little extra services and perks make the entire experience much more enjoyable. Be sure to visit your nearest Myer Giftorium, and give Santa a kiss for me.
Oyster & Pearl. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.