Fields

A few weeks ago, actually it was over two months ago now, I wrote a blog post about passion where I mentioned photography being one of mine. In that entry, I also mentioned that I wanted to post some pictures on this blog, something I then never got around to doing. Until today. Today is the day! Bit dramatic, aren’t I…

My hometown consists of a large portion of fields. There is the actual town with a street of shops and a shopping centre and the schools and the church, and there is the air force base, but there are also a lot of fields. Before the air force  base, fishing and farming was what people did where I’m from. Of course, that was decades before my time. I’ve only ever known the time of the air force base being a corner stone in our community. My father is a major in the RNoAF, which I’ve also mentioned before. The fields was my playground as a child though. We had some very close to my house, not ones that grew grain, although there were those too, but the ones in which we played hide and seek and made imaginary houses, those were mainly just grass and straw and weeds. I can’t imagine moving back there to live full time. I love my family, and the place has grown on me after moving away from it and just being back in the summers and for weekends and such. It is quite lovely, actually. Just not where I want to live. You know? You can love a place but not imagine living there.

One day last summer, I felt really bad. I was not in a good place mentally or emotionally, I felt like I was really close to having a breakdown, I didn’t want to around my parents, and it was a lovely evening with what looked like it would be a beautiful sunset. I told my mum I’m going for a walk, I took my camera and phone and headphones, and I listened to music, and I took pictures until my memory card ran out. That was my bad, for not bringing another or using a bigger one, which I have, but that’s okay. I got some really nice shots. Pictures are worth more than words, and I’ve written many. Now I just want to leave you with some shots from my hometown and hope you like them. Let me know below if you like posts like this, I can do many more, I have lots of pictures!

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Thank you for reading my 100th post on this blog! Hope to see you soon,

xoxo

Julie

Related posts: Regarding Passion // Photography Category Here

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2018 in trees

2018 was the year I really got into using the app Forest: Stay Focused. You can read about it on their website here, but I’m also going to tell you what this app is about and how I have been using it over the past year.

The whole point of the app, as evident from the name, is to keep you off your phone so you can do your work, and rewarding you with trees and money to buy more trees, so you can grow a forest. It’s good for anyone who needs to do anything in life really, but I particularly found it good as a student who needed to stay off my phone, away from facebook and twitter and instagram, and focus on my course work. It’s also good for people working who want or need to stay off their phones for the same reason, or people struggling with phone addictions. I’ve used it to stay off my phone during movies, during lectures, and also to time things like laundry and other chores around the house. I’ll get back to this later, with pictures, so I can show you.

Firstly, how Forest works, is you set a timer, anywhere between 10 minutes and 2 hours, and then you don’t touch your phone in that time, and it grows a tree or a bush for you. If you exit the app or try to use your phone to go on other apps, your bush or tree dies. Bushes grow when you set the time to 10, 15, or 20 minutes, while trees grow when you set the time to anything longer than that. Up to 55 minutes, you grow one tree. At 1 hour, you grow two trees. At 90 minutes, you grow three trees, and at the longest time setting of 2 hours, you grow four trees, each one a little more advanced and fancy looking than the previous one.

When you start out, you have one tree and one bush available. As you continue to grow trees, you get coins that you can use in the shop and buy different types of bushes and trees. The first one you buy costs 500 coins, the next 600, then 700, 800, 900, and 1000, but once you reach that, every other tree or bush remains 1000 coins as well. Use the “watch ad to double coins” feature to earn coins faster. For 2 hours, you get 43 coins, so 86 if you watch an ad and double it. If you buy the premium version, you can unlock achievements that give you more coins, you can turn off the ad feature, or you can choose to keep it on to keep earning more coins. You can also donate your coins, meaning you use them to plant a real tree in the world, it costs 2500 coins. Personally I have not done this, but I’m planning to do so as I’ve now saved up a lot of coins and there are no more trees, bushes, or sounds for me to buy in the shop at this moment. Oh yes, you can also choose to have sounds, such as forest rain, cafe noises, thunder storm, times square, and beach waves, if you like these kinds of sound in the background when working.

 

The picture above shows the whole forest I grew in 2018, with a graph. 3858 living trees and bushes, 60 that I’ve had to kill because I needed my phone for some reason. 1929 hours, that’s about 80.3 days, so that’s something like 2.5 months of time that I’ve spent growing my forest over the course of one year!

So, I didn’t really get into using the app in January, at all. I had used it before, for a few days one month in 2017, because someone told me about it, but as you can see, I kind of forgot the app existed.

In February, I started using the app in the last half of the month. This was a time period where I went to visit my boyfriend in England, and I used the trees when we were watching things together to stay off my phone, and the sunflower which was probably the first bush I spent money on, was from me reading a book that was kind of boring and slow to read, so I did 20 minutes at a time and tried to get through as much as possible. But this was my beginning!

In March, things started to pick up. At the beginning, I was just using random trees and planting whatever I felt like, but later on in the month I realised I could use different trees for different things, and I started colour coding, or should I say tree coding, my subjects. I gave my different subjects a tree each, so 4 trees for 4 classes, and I started growing trees during lectures to stay off my phone, and used the same codes for when I was studying the different subjects outside of class as well.

I changed up my codes once, I believe, and I added more trees as well. I had the four trees for my classes, but I also had a tree for free time/me time, and I kept buying bushes and using them for shorter things, like when I needed a timer for 10 minutes or having a shower, those kinds of things.

I’m not entirely sure why I planted less trees in May than I did in April, to be honest. It doesn’t make sense, because I had exams for the majority of the month – home exams and school exams. You can see that one of the classes was majorly prioritised, and I think that was because I had a home exam stretching 2.5 weeks, then one day of break, a school exam, one day break, another school exam, and on that same day, another one week home exam starting as well.

June has less trees because I finished my studies at the university this month. I finished up my exams in the beginning of the year, and the green trees are me having free time and me time, and I also started growing trees when I went to bed. This was when I started to get annoyed that you could only grow them for 2 hours max, because I’d usually sleep 7-8, and would have liked to have grown trees the whole night. How hard would it be to extend the focus time from 2 hours to 6 hours right? And you’d get 12 trees out of it? Would also be good for anyone not allowed their phone at work, or during an exam… My school exams were 4 hours long, but I have had 6 hour ones in the past, and I did grow trees during the exams this spring, but as with the sleeping trees, I could only plant that one 2-hour tree, which was a bit annoying. It’s safe to say I was getting a bit addicted to growing trees by this point, I’d grow one for anything I could think of.

By June, the cherry trees changed function for me. While they’d previously been for one of my classes, I changed it for work during my summer job. We weren’t allowed phones, had to leave them in our lockers, and because we had specific break times I’d calculate the time so I could use my phone on my lunch break, so I grew trees before and after.

Not much changed for me during the summer, I kept using Forest in the same way throughout July and August as well.

In August, my summer job finished and on the 23rd I moved, which is why I have less trees grown towards the end of the month, only really the night time trees, maybe a few for some movies.

In September, I went ahead and bought all the remaining trees and bushes. A few new ones were released throughout the autumn months as well. I even bought AND USED one I never thought I would – the cotton candy tree. That was for my birthday. Other than that, I grew lemon trees during the day, and the blue night sky and space ship trees at night, just to give my forest some variation. As you can see from the time, I started using the app more, and that’s not because I was using my phone less. By this time, I was no longer a student, and no longer working my summer job, I had no need to stay off my phone to focus, so I started taking advantage of the whitelisting feature the app offers. Basically, you can select apps you want to be able to use without killing your tree, and I’ve selected some, like google, twitter, and instagram, while kept others blacklisted, like facebook, which annoys me to pieces. I had no need to grow trees at this point, but it almost turned into a game of trying to see how many trees I can grow in a day, how big can I grow my forest. It’s satisfying, and it’s addictive.

For October, I changed the colours again. Now I wanted to go for a more autumnal theme. I had red and yellow trees, and I wanted to use both, and since November is also a mostly autumnal month, I went with yellow for October, and red for November, as you can see below, and also switched my night time tree to a new one they brought out, with a moon and a sleeping bunny. Oh and the ghost bush came out for halloween, I barely remembered it, so I only have a few that I grew really late on the 31st, which is why they show up in both months. Previously, when you started growing a tree before midnight, it would only appear in that day’s forest, even if it was past midnight when it finished. This was changed in the autumn, and now, if a 2 hour tree is started even just 5 minutes before midnight, all four trees show up on both days.

For December, Forest brought out a Christmas theme. Basically, this was something you could turn on in your settings, and you’d get a white ground, snow across the screen, and all the trees and bushes were decorated for the holidays. From the graph of the first picture, you can see that December was my best month for growing trees. This was largely because I wanted to make sure I grew every single type of tree and bush during the month, which you can see from the picture. For the first half of the month I only grew the different pine and spruce trees, because they are very Christmassy, but then I started to grow other trees on travel days and the days I spent with my family over the holidays. On one day, I grew only bushes, all the bushes, three times each. Candy trees for Christmas and New Year’s Eve…. and on some days I tried to stick to themes or shapes, so for example “only the round looking trees” or “only the oddly shaped ones” or “only the colourful ones” or “only green ones”. I made it through all of the trees and bushes. And the theme stayed on, so even though the month is over, when I go back to December on my phone those trees are still in Christmas mode.

So that was my year in growing trees in 2018! I hope you enjoyed this entry, I might blog more about this app in the future, or similar apps. I definitely recommend trying it, it’s very easy to use and highly addictive – it sounds contradictory, but being addicted to an app that keeps you off your phone can’t be a bad thing surely?

xoxo

Julie

Similar posts: A Very Satisfying Forest

Be harmless, not helpful

When I was younger, say about 11-15/16, school was always finished at 2.15pm, and I’d always race home to put on 7th Heaven on the TV, and if I was fortunate, I’d only miss the few minutes that were before the intro music. That’s where I first came across this phrase, the title of today’s entry – I don’t remember exactly how it was phrased, I think it was used multiple times, but the gist of it was that it is better to be harmless than to try to be helpful. I think there are a few different ways to look at this and interpret this phrase that we need to talk about.

Firstly, I think we have all been on the receiving end of advice that didn’t go as planned; that made things worse instead of better. To be honest, we’ve probably all given such advice as well – the intent was good, we were trying to help, but the end result did not reflect our intentions. Sometimes trying to help can do more harm than good, and thus backing up the statement that you should be harmless instead of helpful.

Now, what do we mean about being harmless, exactly? I think this is something we should talk about, because a lot of people will say something that seems or sounds harmless to them, but it most definitely is not. Take for example people with any kind of anxiety disorder, or that are struggling with depression – many seemingly harmless statements can actually be hurtful to hear if you’re struggling with anxiety or depression. One of the most well discussed things, going off of my own experience and that of friends and family, and what I see on Twitter for example, is to be told to “just calm down”, “cheer up”, or “just breathe”, or that you’re overreacting. Taking an example from my own life recently, I know, rationally, that I am in fact overreacting, but that doesn’t stop the tightening feeling in my throat, the hyperventilating, or the tears, and I most certainly do not need anyone to tell me to calm down or that I’m overreacting. I know that I’m overreacting, that there is no physical threat to me being sat in front of a computer screen looking at a programme I don’t understand, but if it was so easy as to just breathe or “calm down” don’t you think I would do it? (PS: no one was telling me anything of the sort at the time, this is just me stating what would not have been harmless in the moment). Most of the time, I just need a minute, a little while to let my body catch up to what my brain already knows; that I am fine and in no danger at all. But if someone were to tell me things like the ones above, it might have been intended as good, but cause me harm, because it’ll make me feel worthless, like what I am experiencing isn’t valid, and it might make me feel afraid, and lead to me not being able to be myself around them, it might lead to me wanting and doing everything I can to be invisible, to not make them feel uncomfortable because of what is happening to me.

So you see, phrases that are often intended to be helpful, and perceived as harmless by the person uttering them, can sometimes do more harm than they do good. There is a difference, in my opinion, between being harmless, and saying something you think is harmless. And the above things would fall into the latter category. Being harmless, I think, is a much more passive thing, or it can be – we’ll get to other less passive things in a bit. Being harmless, in some cases, doesn’t require the saying of things. It requires being there for the person who needs it. You should be a safe place for people in your life, a place where they know they won’t be judged or told things like “you don’t look like you have (insert mental state)”, a place where they can just be themselves, where they can rant and scream and cry if that’s what they need. Being harmless, to me, means that people can talk to you, that they can cry on your shoulder, that they can lay with you being held and feeling safe, sit next to you, have their hand held or their back stroked, knowing that no physical harm can come to them in that moment, so they do whatever they need to do, while being with someone who will ensure their safety in the process.

But being harmless can also mean other things. Sometimes, it means being the distraction someone sorely needs, the one who makes them laugh, who takes them places to look at weird stuff or walks  around the city or the country side people-watching or cloud-watching, to be the person that takes their mind off of things. This is a slightly less passive form of harmlessness, I think, where you actively try to be what the person needs, regardless of what that actually is. But I also think it’s important to make sure that this is what the person needs at the time, because they might require other things, such as what I wrote in the previous paragraph, or what I’m about to write about in the next paragraph.

Sometimes, being harmless means letting people go. It might not be forever, it might just be for a  few hours or a few days. Being there for someone, being a harmless place, means giving them what they need, and sometimes what people need is space. It might be time off from social media, it might mean them going away for a while, it might mean that you being in their life is causing them harm, and therefore giving them space is the most harmless thing you can do. This is the one that is hardest to do, this is the one that hurts the most. I can openly say that I have been the person causing harm to someone else simply by being a part of their life, and us trying to stay in each others’ lives ended up causing us both harm. Which sucked. This was a person I cared about a lot, and who cared a lot about me too, but in the end we were no good for each other and went our separate ways. It has been years, and I know this was the kind of letting go that meant forever, even if I didn’t want it at the time. I recently looked them up on social media, without them knowing about it, and discovered that, from what they have been posting, things definitely seem better in their life now, and seeing this made me really happy. It made me realise that we did the most harmless thing we could do, which was remove ourselves from each other, and that made things better, for both of us. And now I am at peace, knowing things are good for them, and I am okay with the fact that what they needed was to not have me in their life, because not all people are good for each other.

This, of course, need not always be the case. I have other people in my life in present time where we’ve taken breaks from each other, time to heal, and have ended up reconnecting after a few weeks or months, and at present time we are no longer causing each other harm. And that’s a wonderful thing. We were causing each other harm, we took a break from each other, which at least for me was hard and painful, but reconnecting and looking back on it in retrospect made me glad we did it because we are positive presences in each others’ lives now. Letting go is not always bad. It might hurt at the time, but the most important thing is that people are safe and not in a harmful place, whether that be physical, mental, or emotional. If someone is causing you pain, would you want to keep them in your life? If you’re causing someone harm by being a presence in their life, do you really want to stay, knowing that you’re hurting them? The selfish answer is, I like having them in my life and losing them will cause me pain so I will do everything I can to keep them in my life. The altruistic answer is, I am causing them pain, I need to remove myself from this situation/their life so that I am no longer causing pain to another human being. I completely understand the logic of the first, no one wants to do anything that will cause themselves harm, but I also think it’s important to consider the harm we might be inflicting on others, and make sure we do as little of that as possible – that we need to focus a little bit more on being harmless.

This entry took a very dark turn, but I think it’s important to talk about it. Dark and painful and difficult topics might be the ones that need talking about the most. But it’s important to remember that being harmless can mean many different things, and people require different things from other people around them. On the internet, where I spend a lot of my time, I see people being so mean to other people, and I always see people talking about how they hate other people, and how animals are better because they are never cruel. As humans, we are the only ones who can change how humans behave, starting with ourselves. If I start by being kinder to you and providing you with a harmless space, you can be kinder and a safe space to the next person, who can then do the same to their next person, and so on. It might be a dream scenario in an imaginary world, but piece by piece the castle gets built, you just have to start somewhere (I don’t know if that is an actual metaphor, I may have just made that up…).

What I wanted to say, above anything else in this entry, and if you didn’t read anything else and just skipped to the end for the TL;DR portion, this is it: People cannot cure other people, you just have to be there for them.

I will end this entry with one of my all-time favourite quotes, which I’ve had written on whiteboards and pieces of paper stuck to the wall and book covers and also really wanted to by a jumper with it on, which is from an organisation called To Write Love On Her Arms, and it is this:

twloha

Feel free to leave a comment and we’ll talk down below!

Xoxo

Julie

 

Related entries: Mission First, People Always

 

Regarding Passion

If you’re with someone and you try to change who they are or what they do, I really don’t understand what kind of person you are.

Take for example gaming. I’ve seen tweets from women saying if your man is in his 20s and still plays video games, ditch him. What kind of bullshit is that?!

It’s important to be passionate about SOMETHING. Passion is hot, it’s attractive. I may not personally enjoy or take part in your hobby but please tell me about it, tell me about what interests you, what you’re passionate about, just seeing the sparkle in your eyes makes it worth my time. People so often are told not to bother people with their weird interests and I think that’s complete and utter bullshit.

I once saw an online article where people had described their ideal partner, and there was a man who said his ideal girlfriend had an interest outside of sitting at home watching TV. He didn’t care what it was, he didn’t care if she’d drag him to museum after museum full of what he called “useless crap”, all that mattered was that she was passionate about something.  And I loved reading those words.

I myself am sometimes a very passive person. I can have days where I don’t get out of bed and I watch every video ever posted by one specific YouTuber, or binge a whole season or two of a TV show. And I enjoy it, but it also makes me incredibly bored sometimes. A lot of times. And I feel so… blah. Recently, I’ve been getting notifications from Instagram while scrolling that I am “all caught up on the last 3 days”. How ridiculous is that? I follow 615 profiles on Instagram, and a few hashtags, and I’ve seen everything that has been posted for multiple days in a row! I need to get back into my hobbies, the things I am passionate about.

But what exactly are these things? I do love going to museums and seeing all kinds of weird stuff, and aquariums and zoos and gardens. But often they cost money to get into, and it costs money to get there, and it has to be planned. So what are some free things I can do that I feel passionate about?

It’s been approximately 18-19 months since I started bullet journaling (my first blog post about that is here). I’m now about 1/4 into my second bullet journal, but I’m not enjoying it as much. I stuck with the same notebook brand but a different design, and the paper is completely different; I get ghosting with some pens, but what’s worse is everything that isn’t a ballpoint pen bleeds. I reached out to the company and they kindly sent me a new one, but I didn’t want to waste a whole big beautiful book, so I stuck with it, and the other one is not available to me at the moment. I switched to only using ballpoint pens for a while, which was fine, but I lost inspiration and didn’t want to keep working on my bullet journal much. Over the past two months, September and October, I’ve been part-taking in a weekly theme challenge by someone I know from the Norwegian bullet journal community, where there’s an umbrella-theme for the month and smaller weekly themes within the bigger one for each week. It’s made me want to work on my journal more, and I even went back into using my brush pens for colour a little – at first it was fine, but then the bleeding started up again. For this last week of October, I actually decided to draw on separate paper and glue it into the book to cover the bleeding from the previous week and avoid more bleeding back onto those pages. It’s a bit disheartening… But I have ideas for things I want to do for November and hopefully they won’t be completely disastrous, and will motivate me to keep going!

Another passion of mine is photography. I always used to love getting disposable cameras for the summer when I was a child, and got my own digital camera as a teenager. I took a photography class in school and learned a little more about composition and some simple editing. Then I went on to do a “folk high school” year in Norway, focusing on travel and photography, and I learned lots. I have a lot of equipment and different programs, although they’re on an ancient computer I can really only use to edit pictures and play Mario Kart…

I kind of put photography aside for a while when I was in uni. There were some days that I went out, and I took some pictures with friends using my camera and tripod and knowledge, but not much. I keep repeating that I want to get back into it, but I feel weird walking around with my camera in small towns like the one I’m from. There was one day last summer however, that I decided not to care and took my camera and some music for a walk. I sat for probably 20-30 minutes on the ground taking pictures of a field in the sunset, and I found a lot of trees, attempted some silhouette shots and such, and I really enjoyed both the process of taking these pictures and the editing afterwards.  Maybe I’ll upload a few in another entry soon.

Yesterday, I watched a YouTuberI subscribe to who had done an “ugly location challenge” photoshoot, and it made me really want to try taking pictures of people again. I wish I had friends that (1) lived where I do, and (2) WANTED to be photographed, so that I could ask them to do a photoshoot and get good pictures and not awkward “if I must”-poses (this is NOT a comment towards any of my current friends, if anyone is reading this!), so that I could start building a portfolio. Naturally, friends that volunteer for this will get the pictures from me, as long as they let me use their pictures in my portfolio. Then, a dream of mine would be to be able to post ads and get photography work I’d get paid to do. The more I think about it, the more I want this kind of job. I never studied photography professionally, I don’t have a degree to show for my skills, but if I could build a portfolio I could let my work speak for itself. God, how I want this now…

What are YOU passionate about? Leave a comment and we’ll talk below!

Xoxo

Julie

It’s Okay Not to be Okay

Two years ago today, I woke up at 6am on a Monday, because I had to take a ferry at 7.30 to go from my hometown to the city, and when I got to the city I went straight up to uni, so I didn’t get home to my apartment until the evening. I remember the skirt, boots, and cardigan I was wearing. I remember talking to my friends in uni. I remember music I listened to while travelling. I remember that I forgot to wish my parents a happy 19th wedding anniversary in the morning and had to message them in the afternoon, and felt bad about that. And then I went to sleep.

Fast forward 9 hours, and my mom called me a little before 8am, something she’s never done, so I knew it had to be bad news. She told me my dad had taken the last ferry last night and driven all night, and just arrived at my grandparents’ place, where he and grandpa was gonna have some food and then go to the hospital. My uncle had called the night before, saying “you have to get down here right now. She’s been asking for you today”. I got up and lit a candle. I didn’t go into uni, I didn’t have any lectures, I tried to work from home. Around 4pm, my phone started to ring. I knew it had to be my mom. It wasn’t. My roommate had had a hair appointment and been told the salon had a customers’ night that evening, and asked if I wanted to come with her. I said yes. Less than 15 minutes went by, then my mom called. She told me my grandma had passed away. Dad and my uncle had been there with her. She told me she had to go check on my brother but I could come home again if I wanted to.

I went to customers’ night at the salon. I remember the trousers and jumper and boots and necklace I was wearing. I called one of my friends on my way to meet my roommate. I talked to my roommate, who said to just let her know and we could leave if I wanted to. Another friend of mine returned my call while we were there. We stayed for the duration of the event, and then went home. I didn’t sleep till 2am. I posted about my grandma on Facebook, after seeing my dad and uncle do the same thing. I woke up again at 6. I got a bag and threw in some clothes and things. I was at a shopping centre in town by the time they opened at 9am. I bought a dress. I was by the ferries before 10, and called my mom to say I was on my way home. She came to pick me up in my brother’s car. I wore nothing but sweatpants and hoodies for several days. Mom and I watched a lot of daytime television; renovation shows, gardening shows, the shows where people want to buy a house and then they do it.

My grandma was the first person I’ve lost. I lost a great-grandpa when I was 1 or 2, and a great-grandma when I was 9, but I don’t remember the first and I didn’t have a close relationship with the second. Then I lost my grandma two years ago tomorrow. 9 months later, my grandpa died, too. And three months after that, a year after my grandma passed away, I lost my last remaining great-grandfather, the only one I’ve ever known. I’m okay for the most part, and I can say without problems that I needed an extension to finish my master’s thesis because I lost three family members in 12 months, and that that’s also why that grade is so different from my average. People look at me with expressions of complete and utter shock when I tell them this though. But for me it’s just something that happened to me.

A year ago, I was busy finishing my master’s thesis before the deadline in November. I don’t remember much how I felt a year ago. This year is different because I don’t have anything like that to keep me busy, and I think that’s why I’m feeling it differently this year, almost like I feel it more. The last couple of days, my emotions have been all over the place. But that’s okay. It’s okay to miss people, and it’s okay not to be okay. You just have to let the feelings come, and go, and you’ll return to being okay again, until the next time. That’s just how it is, and that’s okay. Perfectly normal, in fact.

Xoxo

Julie

 

Older posts about this: Circle of Life & Hallelujah – You’re Home.

Jordan x Beauty Bay – First impressions, thoughts, and swatches

{ This blog post is in no way sponsored, I purchased these items with my own money, and I am writing about them purely because I want to. Links are for your convenience if you want to check out the things I write about, and I do not receive anything from you clicking on links in this blog post }

Almost two weeks ago, beauty Youtuber Jordan Lipscombe announced announced that she has collaborated with Beauty Bay to release 3 makeup pallets consisting of 6 eyes hadows and 2 highlighters each (watch her announcement video here). The pallets were made available for purchase two days ago, on the 27th of September, and when I went on Beauty Bay’s website to look at the price, my initial thought was “£20 for ONE?!”. It seemed really pricey to me, as I bought a makeup pallet by another Youtuber with 24 eye shadows for £10 just over a month ago. Beauty Bay also has a deal on where you get all 3 for £50 so it saves you £10 (here’s the link to buy the pallets). So you get 18 eye shadows and 6 highlighters for £50, which I compared to my Naked Heat that I also bought in England: 12 eye shadows for £39.50. Then, the price didn’t seem so bad, and I did have birthday money in my pocket, burning to be spent…

I put off buying them for a day, but yesterday afternoon I started to really want to purchase the pallets again as I think the colours are gorgeous and different shades of highlighters is something I’ve been wanting to get for a while, but not purchased because I don’t want blue and purple and pink and whatnot, which is what I’ve found in a lot of highlighter pallets I’ve seen around.

Anyway, I did some research yesterday afternoon, and by research I mean I checked if I had to pay for shipping, how long I’d have to wait to receive the pallets, as well as go on Youtube and watch videos about the pallets. Jordan has made a video where she demonstrates looks using the three different pallets (check it out here), and this was the first video I watched. I then went on to a suggested video by Sophdoesnails (here), another Youtuber I follow and whose colouring is a lot closer to mine, to see how she used the pallets. As Beauty Bay had free next day delivery if ordered before 11PM and it was a Friday night, I went on to order the pallets yesterday evening so they’d be delivered today, which is Saturday, so I could play around with them this weekend and not have to wait until Monday as there’s “no post on Sundays”! Fortunately they arrived early today (around noon) so I’ve been able to test all the colours and that is why I’m writing this blog post – to share my first impressions, thoughts, and of course swatches for those of you who are interested in that sort of thing!

First of all, I want to say Beauty Bay does a good job packing items before shipping them – the ziplock bag in the picture above was inside two bubble wrap pouches, and came in a big cardboard box with protecting paper both under and above it to make sure the pallets did not get damaged. I’m impressed!

The pallets, which are named Trooper, Onyx, and Fuego, are each inside a cardboard sleeve with the name of the pallet on it. The Youtube videos I watched made it look really easy to slide the pallets out – I had to work a little, but we got there eventually, and the pallets look like this:

The pallets themselves are somewhat plain, just matte black paper/cardboard with the B logo on the front, and a sticker on the back with info about the product and name. BUT – each pallet comes with a sheet of stickers so you can decorate the outside as you want! We’ll get to that in a minute!

The pallets open just by lifting the lid, there is no closing mechanism, other than what feels like a slight magnetic pull. For me, this is not an issue as long as I have the pallets at home, but it might be an issue if I take them travelling. I’d probably put them back into the sleeve if I take them with me anywhere, just to be sure the makeup doesn’t get damaged.

And here we have them! From left to right: Onyx, Fuego, and Trooper! Onyx is a smoky eye type of pallet, with three browns, a nude, a black, and a yellow eye shadow, all matte. The highlighters in this one are pink toned, one a bit lighter and one a bit darker.

Fuego is a warm toned pallet with four matte colours, two browns and two reds, as well as a copper and a pink which are shimmery. The highlighters in Fuego are gold toned, and might be too dark for us very pale people, but it’s possible to use them on the eyes as well!

Trooper is a pallet that looks camouflage uniform inspired (coming from a girl whose father is in the air force). It has an ochre yellow, a brown, a green and a black matte eye shadow (this black seems lighter than the one in Onyx, like it’s mixed with a little bit of green almost), and a gold and green shimmery eye shadow. This pallet has the two lightest highlighter shades, one champagne-y and one almost white. These might be difficult to use for darker skinned people, but mixing Quartz and Gilded for example might work to create a darker highlighter colour.

I think I could definitely find ways to use all the eye shadows and highlighters in all of these pallets. I love how varied they are! The one I was most excited to try was Trooper, as I don’t actually have green eye shadows anymore, since cleaning out a lot of old makeup when moving the last couple of times. Onyx was second on my wish list, because I have many different brown toned eye shadows, but the yellow and black in combination with the pink highlighters made me want this one too. Fuego was at the bottom of the list of these three pallets as far as which order I would purchase them in if I were to buy them individually, simply because I bought Urban Decay Naked Heat only earlier this year, which is also a warm toned pallet. However, if I were to buy two and not the third, I’d only have to spend £10 more to get all three, plus I’d get new highlighters, and the formula might be completely different, and in the end that’s what persuaded me to buy all three pallets in one go. Furthermore, earlier this morning I saw that someone had asked Jordan how long the pallets would be available for, and she said as long as stock lasts, which made me glad I’d bought them all when I did, just in case they’d be sold out if I’d waited and wanted to get them at a later point in time!

But without further ado, let’s get to the swatches, which I’m sure is much more interesting than me rambling about my thought process when deciding to buy the pallets!

I decided to do the swatches by colour of the highlighters, from light to dark, starting with Trooper. I did the swatches with my fingers, not brushes, and I went back and forth a few times on each swatch. Going from my tattoo towards my elbow, the shades are: Quartz, Daze, Ambush, Olive, Coco, Ochre, Gilded, Envious. It was hard to get an angle that showed off both the shimmer in the highlighters and the shimmery eye shadows, but the shimmer is definitely there in the eye shadows as well!

I love both of the highlighters in this pallet, and I think I could use them pretty much all year. And I can’t wait to play with the green eye shadows!

The order of the swatches from tattoo to elbow in the Onyx pallet is: Rosado, Sparkling Rosé, Stung, Smoke, Marron, Henna, Amber, and Fawn. Fawn was barely visible on my pale skin on my arm, but I’m betting it’ll be different when used on my eyelid with a brush!

Rosado might be a little too dark for me, especially now that winter is coming, but I expect I could use Sparkling Rosé quite a lot! Brown eye shadows are very versatile and can be used for almost any occasion, so I think I could use this pallet a lot, and I look forward to trying the pop of yellow like Jordan did in her video!

Lastly, the Fuego pallet from tattoo to elbow: Heart of Gold, Gold Dust, Mocha, Pinot, Ember, Tan, Molten, and Mercy. I managed to get the shimmer in the shadows in this picture, but it meant the names of the shades in the pallet being blurry – hopefully you can still make out which name is on which colour.

The highlighters in this pallet are too dark for me, I think, I might be able to get away with Gold Dust in summer time if I manage to get a bit of a tan, but Heart of Gold will probably have to be used as an eye shadow for me!

Ember and Mercy are probably the two shades in this pallet that I don’t have from before. Comparing to Naked Heat, Molten looks a lot like Dirty Talk, Pinot is similar to En Fuego, Tan is similar to ow Blow, and Mocha is similar to brown shades in other pallets I have. However, I like the square packaging a lot and the mirror a lot more than the rectangular ones in the Naked pallets. If I were to travel and bring a warm toned pallet, the chances are high I’d grab this one!

Overall, I like the formulas of the eye shadows and highlighters, they glide on smoothly, they were not chalky or powdery, there was a tiny bit of fallout but not much as I was doing these swatches. I look forward to trying them on my face next!

If you made it through the entire blog post, I applaud you, as this was a long one! Thank you so much for reading my first impressions and thoughts about these three brand new makeup pallets! If you have tried any of them, or have any comments or want to talk about them, please leave a comment below!

xoxo

Julie

Content Moments

I have been reading a book about mindfulness lately. I’ve not yet finished it, and I’m only just now reaching the part about how to practice mindfulness in everyday life, but over the past week I’ve been, perhaps subconsciously, focusing on enjoying the moments and trying to make the best out of whatever is happening at the time.

Something really good happened to me at work today. One of my colleagues came back from his break, and as there were no people who had showed up wanting a tour at that time, he asked if I wanted to go for a walk, to which I agreed. We walked out of the café/shop of the museum, through the courtyard, out the front gate, and followed the path that leads up to the building all the way down to the road. Then we walked back up the path to the gate, and turned left and followed the path to the parking lot on the other side of the building, and back down again. We did this twice, then we walked onto the grass and through the garden of trees, admired our workplace from the garden with the trees framing it, and continued walking for a bit. We met some tourists, who said it was like watching a painting moving towards them, as we were both wearing our historic costumes. We spoke to them for a while, and when we saw other tourists approaching the front gate of the castle we began making our way back through the garden and into the building again.

We talked about many different things while walking, past, present, and future, which I won’t bore you with repeating here. What I really wanted to convey, is this amazingly content feeling I had while walking, or perhaps I should use the word strolling, through the grounds of our workplace. I almost felt like we were a part of some 1800s film scene, where two people in beautiful costumes are walking and having some sort of deep, important conversation. Two people who are comfortable being on this stroll together, comfortable talking to each other about the topic of conversation. I felt so incredibly at peace, and in that moment, nothing was wrong in the world, in my world, everything was calm and peaceful and  good.

I’ve had another similar experience with the same colleague this summer, actually. At that time, it was the start of the day, it was sunny and warm but not yet too warm, and we were sat outside on the curb by the stairs going from the lower to the upper courtyard at work. We were talking about life and the future, which has been uncertain or unpredictable for both of us, and in that moment, I felt like nothing else mattered, despite the anxiety I’d had the previous night, despite all the feelings that had been raging through me for days. In that moment, everything was perfect, and the feeling lingered and I couldn’t remember the last time I felt such serenity.

Last night I was sat wondering, how do people make friends in the real world? I only ever make friends on the internet, except for my two friends from university that pretty much decided to be my friend and that’s how we are where we are, two of us being godmothers to the third’s child, still friends despite studying separate things and living in separate places. I do know work plays an important role in making friends, and a lot of people know each other through work. I repeated this to my colleague today, whose fiancée I happen to know from working in the same place earlier, which lead to us playing Pokemon GO together outside of work and meeting up in uni sometimes as well – although I actually even knew OF her even before that, as we’re from small towns close to each other and have gone to school together. My colleague told me that just for the record, I am able to make friends outside of the Internet too; he likes me, and if I’d been staying in the city he’d hang out with me and play Pokemon GO with us now that he’s started playing again too. So maybe I don’t completely suck at making friends after all…

Xoxo

Julie

Times change

Earlier this summer I was talking to someone on snapchat (digression: I actually use it to have conversations with friends much in the same way as on messenger, just with pictures – not to send nudes that disappear in a few seconds like some people do and think is the purpose of the app), and I’d had my hair up for work which I do on most days. I work as a tour guide and in the café we run on site, two of the shifts have half a day of café, half touring, while the third shift does tours all day, and in the café we can’t have our hair down when we have long hair. So I’d had my hair up for work and left it up all evening, only undid it when I was getting ready for bed. And the person I was talking to said my hair looks really good down (not that it didn’t look good up, but that it looked even better down). I guess it must have been stuck in my head over the last several weeks, because I’ve started to wear my hair down more and more when I’m at home, undoing it when I get home from work, and even leaving it undone at work when I’m a guide and just doing a fast and easy ponytail when I’m on café duty.

I had long hair as a child. Long, fine, and incredibly silky. I used to beg my mom for French braids and she’d give in once in a while but most of the time there was no point, it was so difficult because my hair was too slippery and wouldn’t do anything. As I grew older, up towards my teenage years, I wore ponytails all the time and never had my hair down. In my early teens, when my hair was at its longest, I always had it down and I always carried hair ties on my wrist. My grandma always asked “can’t you tie up that long hair of yours?” when we were about to eat. Then, when I was 17, I chopped it all off. I had short bob styles until I was 22, when I decided I wanted to grow it out, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 4 years, telling my hair dressers to take off as much as necessary, but as little as possible, ie only what was absolutely necessary to keep it healthy and to keep split ends from spreading up.

As a student, I’ve worn my hair up a lot, and it’s been getting easier and easier the longer my hair has gotten, and with all the studies I’ve done it’s been convenient to have it out of my face, and I also used to go to the gym a lot, so I barely ever had my hair down, only when I was invited to an event and such, sometimes at work in the museum shop. I can do buns, different kinds of braids, headband styles… All kinds of stuff. And I’ve loved doing my hair! I feel classy, elegant, and I can look fun and girly and childish or adult and professional, the opportunities are endless! But over the last few weeks, I’ve found myself gravitating towards having my hair down again. It’s been a long time. But I’m loving this look now, too!

Xoxo

Julie

You can laugh, but I don’t care.

People think I don’t know when they’re making fun of me. But I know. I just no longer care.

I know I’m a bit weird. Quirky. Odd. Strange. I don’t always pick up on irony and sarcasm, I too often take things too seriously and believe stuff that’s not true. I’m book smart, theoretical, and don’t always understand right away how some of the things that are obvious to a lot of people work. With a lot of things, I’m a bit slow, and I need things spelled out to me.

But I know when I’m being made fun of, laughed at behind my back… I know it. I’m aware that it happens.

But here’s the thing. The thing is, I don’t care about it. If people have nothing better to do than make fun of me, then I feel sorry for them. If that’s what they want to spend their time on, then that’s their time being wasted, their life. I’m not gonna waste my time caring about it, because I lose so much precious time that way. Life may be long, but it might be short. We never know how much time we’re gonna get and I don’t want to waste mine. I want to focus on doing things that are good for me, that bring joy to my soul. I don’t want to care about people who have negative opinions about me.

And I want to share a poem with you. It’s one of my favourite pieces of writing, I’ve copied it down so many times, and I might have shared it on my blog before, but I wanted to share it again:

I love being horribly straightforward. I love sending reckless text messages (because how reckless can a form of digitized communication be?) and telling people I love them and telling people they are absolutely magical humans and I cannot believe they really exist. I love saying, Kiss me harder, and You’re a good person, and, You brighten my day. I live my life as straight-forward as possible.

Because one day, I might get hit by a bus.

Maybe it’s weird. Maybe it’s scary. Maybe it seems downright impossible to just be—to just let people know you want them, need them, feel like, in this very moment, you will die if you do not see them, hold them, touch them in some way whether its your feet on their thighs on the couch or your tongue in their mouth or your heart in their hands.

But there is nothing more beautiful than being desperate.

And there is nothing more risky than pretending not to care.

We are young and we are human and we are beautiful and we are not as in control as we think we are. We never know who needs us back. We never know the magic that can arise between ourselves and other humans.

We never know when the bus is coming.”

—Rachel C. Lewis, Tell The People You Love That You Love Them

Xoxo

Julie