Sunshine + Wine

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This past weekend Luke and I went camping up on the Victoria/New South Wales* border, in a small little town that the 9-to-5 rush forgot. We tagged along with some friends from work who were starting a 2.5 week camping adventure up in that area, and camped with them on their first stop in the scenic little wine region that is Rutherglen. What’s the best way to do a wine tour when you don’t have a designated driver? Obviously it’s by bicycles rented from the town info centre!

There are over 15 wineries in the Rutherglen region, but we got so carried away listening to the winery employees tell us about each wine (and then letting us taste them all, naturally) that we only made it to 3. Follow-up trip required? You bet.

I haven’t done a proper wine tour before, but I knew to expect a lot of wine and a bit of dehydration given the 30 degree temperatures. What I didn’t expect was the amount of wine knowledge I’d come away with! That glass-swirling thing you do with red wine? I totally get it now (though I actually prefer the non-aerated taste of the tannins in red wine). That oaky taste everyone talks about (and by everyone I mean whoever writes the wine labels)? Yep, I can recognise it now – and avoid it, not my fave. The best thing I came away with this weekend was the knowledge of a new type of wine that I’d never even heard of before: a Durif. It’s a really heavy, very tannin-y wine (technical term?) that gives you that tang or mouth dryness that you get with reds. And also, I love it! We took a bottle home and enjoyed it in mugs with our BBQ dinner, as you do on a camping wine tour, right?

The rest of the weekend was filled with stereotypical country-Australia moments, like counting kangaroo road kill on the highway (more than 30 – imagine what they’d do to your car!), being kept awake by a crazy possum outside our tent, eating pies for breakfast, and enjoying the incredible hospitality of the Aussie people. I’ve definitely vowed to make camping a more regular thing, particularly when there’s wine tasting involved, and I can definitely see myself doing the 3hr drive back up to Rutherglen in the future. It was a great chance to get out of the city for a break, and to experience more of Victoria.

*For you non-Aussies, Victoria is the state that Melbourne is in, and New South Wales is the state that Sydney calls home!

The Enabler: Recent Purchases

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Not that I’m enabling your shopping habits, but I like to consider myself pretty savvy when it comes to buying things on my wishlist without paying full price. Considering this is the age of online shopping, where a quick Google search can easily turn up coupon codes you didn’t even know existed, I thought it would be fun to not only share what’s on my hit list lately, but what I’ve pulled the trigger on while still saving myself a bit of cash in the process. I also thought it would be fun to discuss my favourite ways around paying retail price for items, and to share what I’m currently watching the sales for.

It’s easy to get lost in the sea of websites that offer new sales each week (especially if you’re on their email list), but I think that as long as you budget for a certain amount of spending each month/couple of months (and make decisions like ‘shoes OR dinner out on Friday night; not both’) then it’s all good. You just have to know what numbers you need to stick to, and stick to them! And also, recognise that your limits and your friends’ limits might be different, so stay as far away from the keeping up with the joneses mentality as possible! But even with the most well-thought-out purchases, a little coupon code googling can never be a bad thing. Even 15$ off what you expected to pay is good – it’s 15$ still in your pocket after all!

1/ I’ve been heading to the local pool at least once a week for the past three months to swim some laps in my old swimsuit that I’ve had for years. But swimsuits aren’t meant to withstand chlorine forever, and the lycra in my suit was deteriorating to the point that I’m pretty sure you could straight up see my bum when I wasn’t in the pool. I found this suit on The Iconic (who knew they have sports clothing?) and used the coupon code I mentioned in this post on both my shoes and the suit (use the code below to get 30% off this week). Bargain!

2/ I told you I have a problem with The Iconic (this isn’t even an ad – I wish it was). This bag is a very low-cost Celine-inspired bag (mine’s black+brown, but its sold out now!) that has replaced my trusty tote from days gone by. I love it because I can wear it with anything, meaning it’s one bag that I don’t have to switch out depending on my outfit. And at 50% off at the time, how could I resist?

3/ I bought a few dresses from Portmans when they had a promo out for 20% off sale price. Each dress was regular $120 and I managed to buy 4 for around $40-$50 each. Once again, it’s why I don’t recommend deleting promo emails – it’s far more cost effective if you can just learn to restrain yourself and pick your sale purchases wisely.

4/ I’ve had my current converse sneaks since 2007 and they’ve started to get holes in them like crazy. I love the way white all stars seem to go with everything (even dresses!), but Converse sneakers are about $15-$40 more expensive in Australia. Solution? eBay! The seller I used is here and I got mine for less than $55!

5/ I mentioned my nail polish bargains in this post, but if you’re a polish junkie like me, then it’s worth mentioning again. Buy your polish online from eBay and you’ll be able to get them at a fraction of the Aussie price, as well as get combined shipping which works out overall to about $5 a bottle. My favourite brands are Essie and China Glaze, because they last forever and have a heap of amazing colours for cheap (like my faves: play date, turquoise and caicos, and carry on).

6/ Another Portmans purchase was a white+black blouse, which I love for both casual wear (untucked of course) and the office. I’d seen it when it was first released and was really tempted to buy, but I waited… and with the sale email mentioned above, I got it for half price. Love that!

7/ If you work in an office whose dress code is quite business formal, no doubt you’d be keen for some way to jazz up your workwear. I was introduced to UK brand Hawes and Curtis through a friend, and their shirts are my favourite new thing to wear to work. You can get ‘em during sales for less than 20 pounds (or about AUD $30), and shipping only took 5 days. Do note that I wear a 10/12 shirt in Aus sizes (6/8 US), and a 16 in the fitted shirts at H&C are about the smallest I can wear.

++On my Wishlist

8/ I’ve been in the market for a leather jacket for at least a year now, but after seeing Julia wear this one (here) I think I’m in love. I’m crossing my fingers that it’ll still be in store when I get home to Canada in December, because I love the rose gold accents and don’t think I’ve seen them anywhere else! Fingers crossed for pre-holiday sales 😉 I also love the one above with the silver details, but it’s a liiiiittle out of my price range :(

9/ If this skirt goes on sale I’m buying it for sure. It’s one of those tops that would look really cute dressed down (with the crop top?), but can also be worn to the office with a blouse like the one I mentioned above. I also loooove the colour blue for summertime, because it reminds me of boating and the ocean and sailing (though no, I’ve never been a sailor. I do hear they like blue though). Hopefully they carry this skirt in stores, cuz I’ll definitely be hunting down a J Crew on my trip to the US in December.

10/ While I legit never thought I’d say this, I love the idea of pairing crop tops like this one with slightly higher waisted skirts. It’s not really midriff baring or overly exposing, but the overall silhouette of the outfit would just be so clean and pretty. While I can’t say for sure if I’d be bold enough to wear it myself (maybe after a few more kettlebell workouts!), at 15$ I can definitely afford to buy this top online, try it out, and return it if it’s too full frontal.

That’s it from me! I’m officially on a shopping hiatus until I go home next month, so I made the end of October and November an extended tight month for myself. No matter how good the sales are! Have you bought anything recently that was a major steal/money-saver? Or are you stockpiling your cash for holiday season too? Gotta remember – a new skirt today won’t make me as happy as the feeling of financial security come December. But if you’re starting your holiday shopping early, here are a few sales & coupon codes to help you out!

The Iconic: 30% off with code BDAY30
Portmans: 30% off sale prices, ends tonight!
J Crew: 30% off with code LOVEFALL :)

Job Hunting: Including Job Duties on your Resume

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I love writing career-related posts, and while I’m still no expert career lady I would definitely say I’m up there when it comes to resume and cover letter writing (check this and this out if you want more on that). I’ve read a lot of resources on the topic, attended a lot of career workshops, and asked for feedback from all of my many employers once I was hired, and one thing that’s stuck with me was the advice from my former careers counsellor during my post-grad studies. The topic was resume-writing, and we were working on listing job duties on your resume. And before I give you the complete goods, I’m going to tell you what I knew about listing job duties before coming into the workshop, just so we’re all on the same page.

When listing your job tasks out under each past employment term, the number one thing you need to do is evaluate their relevance to your current position. For example, I once was in charge of hiring referees for my university’s intramural flag football program, and I received a resume that listed working at a nursery as a past job – tasks included “inventory” and “cleaning the aisles at the end of the day”. As the hiring manager, all I see is menial tasks that aren’t at all relevant to the position I’m hiring for; in short, that experience looks as good to me as no experience, because it doesn’t make you a better candidate in my eyes.

So when you write your job tasks, word them so that they’re relevant to the position that you’re applying for. Had the person written that they “take inventory of all items on the shop floor on a weekly basis, recording missing items and noting which reorders need to take place” then I’d probably say “you’d be a great equipment manager and I can use that”. Same task, word it differently, and suddenly I see why you’re great. And if you’re not sure what will make you relevant, the first place to start is the job description. Look at the tasks listed, think about what skills you’d need to do them, and write your resume accordingly. You really would be surprised what a world of a difference this can make!

Next thing, when listing your job tasks, start each bullet point with a verb, and keep the points succinct (i.e. no fluffy adjectives). A friend of mine was told by someone to use fluffy words to show enthusiasm in her resume, and it ended up with a bunch of tasks listed like “happily monitored the canning machines for errors” and “enthusiastically cleaned the store each night after closing”. When hiring managers read resumes like that, they think two things: 1- this person is using fluffy words to cover up the fact that their experience is lacking, and 2- this is wasting my time, get to the point. So start your points with verbs, i.e. what you did, and keep it to the point: “Maintained the clean and uncluttered aesthetic of the shop throughout the course of my shift”.

Also note that it’s definitely okay, and in fact a great idea, to list one or two noteable achievements/recognitions in your job tasks, and I usually choose to list those last for each role. For example, when I was serving, I included “received three written commendations from regular restaurant patrons for my excellent customer service”. The people hiring you should know that you do your job well!

Tips for resume Writing

The above tips are my hard rules for resume-writing, and they got me pretty far in my career. But when I walked into that workshop a few years ago, resume in hand ready to be critiqued, I’ll admit that I thought I was invincible. But my advisor (he’s a great advice giver!) gave me a new way to spin my work: quantifying my successes.

This isn’t going to be possible with every job or every resume, but when it is, it’s extremely effective. Quantifying your achievements specifically tells your potential employer that you’re not just an “effective communicator”, but that you “decreased errors in monthly reporting by 20% by improving communication across the team during weekly meetings”. If you know you’ve made something better, faster, more efficient by being innovative and thinking up new ways to carry out your job (something that’s pretty easy being that we’re a very tech-savvy generation), do your best to quantify it (slight estimations are fine in my opinion) to give a number on your resume. People don’t argue with numbers!

Here’s an example: instead of saying you “saved the company money by finding a better way to carry out financial reporting”, be specific and give an approximation of how much time/money you saved. “Saved the company 20% by designing and implementing an excel spreadsheet to track financials throughout the course of the project”, or “Reduced time required to carry out monthly revenue recognition by 15% by creating a standard methodology that can be used across all projects”. Quantifying your successes not only gives the hiring manager a good idea of just how great you really are, it seems a lot more believable and concrete than “improved efficiency”, which sounds generic and meh, right?

I hope this post helped clarify some resume-writing questions you might’ve had, and if you’ve got anything else to add, please let me know in the comments! Unlike most people, I actually love writing resumes, because I really feel that when you put some thought behind it, it can be pretty easy to stand out. What are your major gripes with resume-writing? Any tips for success or standing out? If you’re currently job hunting, best of luck to you :)

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All content published on cupcakes+coffee breaks is written and created by me, unless otherwise stated. Please do not use any of my text as your own. All photographs are my own, unless stated at the bottom of the post. If you like what you read, please feel free to share, but provide a link back to the original post in your article. If using my photos on your own site, please provide a link back to the post and credit ‘cupcakes+coffee breaks’ as the source.

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cupcakes+coffee breaks accepts sponsored content from companies in the fashion, beauty, jewelry, interiors, home decor, and career-advancement industries. Posts will be written with my honest opinion, and you will have the opportunity to review the post before it is published. If you are keen to collaborate with me in any way, please contact me. I’d love to chat about working together!

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cupcakes+coffee breaks is part of the Amazon Associates, Shopsense, Google Adsense and Rewardstyle affiliate networks. This means that I will earn a small commission (usually in the realm of pennies) from some product links that I post, based on either clicks or purchases. Not all of the products I post will be affiliate links, nor will that in any way influence me to post one product over another. The items I post about are items I genuinely want to share, and any money I may earn goes straight back into my site. So thank you in advance for clicking through any of my links, I truly appreciate it.

Aesthetic

Although the current site design for cupcakes + coffee breaks was created by me, many of the design aspects were taken from elsewhere. Below is a short list of places I looked for design inspiration. There are many other blogs out there that I love to look at, and I’d like to give credit where credit is due.

My header image was taken from the Spicy Ice Cream blog (post here), which I found through this post on The Sweetest Occasion.

My blog’s colour palette was generated using the header image, uploaded to this site. I simply chose the colours I liked best, and went with that.

The rest of the blog has been slightly redesigned from an older version so that it’s much cleaner and simpler looking. The three blogs I looked to for inspiration in this sense were cupcakes and cashmere, vmac+cheese and A Piece of Toast, which are some of my favourite sites to visit (see more of them here). Everything else was done through googling and lots (and lots and lots) of trial and error!

Recommended Reading

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When I was in first grade, I can remember a time when I took a book out of my backpack to read during recess. Some girls from my class saw me and started teasing me about it. “That book has chapters. You can’t read that. We don’t even have to read that in school yet.”

“Yes I can” I told them, and I could, because I had been reading with my parents before bed every night since I could remember, and any other time I could find. “Prove it. Read something out loud then” they taunted.

“Well, you wouldn’t know if I’m actually reading it anyway, because you can’t read what it says”. They left me alone after that. Bazinga, 1st-grade me.

Below I’ve listed my favourite books, what I’m currently reading, and some great articles so that you can enjoy them too. I’m always looking for new and interesting reads, so if you have a recommendation I’d love to hear it!

 

Currently Reading

  • Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
  • Wheatbelly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, And Find Your Path Back To Health by William Davis

 

Recommendations

++click the category titles to drop down the list of books and articles

Fiction
  • Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  • Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  • The Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Blogs I Love

Here you will find my all-time favourite bloggers and websites, girls + women I have been a fan of for absolutely ages. In the right sidebar of every page I have a rotating list of new blogs that I’ve newly discovered and like, but these are my seasoned favourites, ones that I rush back to the computer to catch up on after a vacation away from the interwebs. That is how you know they’re just that damn good. So check ‘em out!

Lifestyle

  • vmac+cheese
  • A Piece of Toast
  • Cupcakes and Cashmere
  • L.A. in the Bay
  • Freutcake
  • House of Earnest

 Home + Decor

  • Savvy Home
  • Lark & Linen

Style + Fashion

  • Kendi Everyday
  • my edit.
  • Atlantic-Pacific
  • Gal Meets Glam
  • To Vogue or Bust
  • Pink Peonies
  • Penny Pincher Fashion

Food + Recipes

  • Oh She Glows
  • Sweet Tooth
  • Real Girl’s Kitchen
  • Cookie + Kate
  • With Style and Grace

Work Life

  • Capitol Hill Style
  • Corporette
  • The Grindstone

More Awesome Bloggers + Inspiration

  • Camille Styles
  • The Glitter Guide
  • The Everygirl
  • The Beauty Department

Youtubers

As a bit of a cosmetics + beauty junkie, I also love watching youtube for inspiration and product rec’s. Here are a few of my favourites:

  • Chloe Morello
  • Miss Glamorazzi
  • Fleur de Force
  • Essie Button
  • Tanya Burr
  • Zoella

DIY Beauty: Lemon + Baking Soda Face Mask

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In my endless search to find products that will help me finally nix the issues I’m having with my skin lately, I decided to stop spending heaps of money on products and reel myself in a little. After hours of research on the interwebs, I came across some rave reviews advocating the use of some really common kitchen items, which I’ll be happy to share with you here. It’s like a science experiment for my face… cooooool.

One of the skin issues I have that frustrates me almost more than the breakouts themselves is the redness that they leave behind. For the record, I am a chronic picker, which I know is not a good thing, but I just cannot leave something poppable alone. It’s a weakness, and unfortunately that compounds my issues with redness and hyperpigmentation. But when I did my initial google search for easy at-home remedies, a few very basic kitchen staples popped up that made a lot of sense: lemons and baking soda.

When I was a kid, my mom used to squeeze lemon juice into my hair on summer vacation for some easy and cheap at-home highlights. The acid in the lemon juice acts as a bleaching agent (which I suppose the theory goes on to show that its effects may be amplified by the sun, but truthfully I’m no chemist so I don’t know), and thus it makes sense that it should act in the same way when applied to your skin.

To make a face mask out of the lemon juice, you can add baking soda into the mix, stirring it together until it becomes a paste. This can be applied to your face and left on for anywhere from 5-30 minutes (I like extremes, so I go for 30), depending on how comfortable it is for you. Just make sure you don’t add too much liquid, because that will turn your home brew into a gooey, drippy mess that will not stay on your face. The baking soda doesn’t do too much while the mask is applied to your face, but when washing everything off it acts as a gentle exfoliant, leaving you with amazingly smooth skin as a result. I actually saw really great results with this mask, using it about 1-2 times per week, so I wanted to go a bit further with it. I decided to squeezed some lemon juice onto a cotton pad and use it as a toner morning and night. The lemon juice toner visibly reduced the redness over the course of just a few days, and it acted as a disinfectant to help clean and clear up my active breakouts much quicker. Major win!

Whether you’re having some unpleasant skin issues, or just feel like your complexion is a bit dull, I definitely recommend you give this little at-home treatment a try. Besides the fact that it costs mere dollars per application, it’s a natural way to give your skin a little boost. It is worth mentioning that my boyfriend and housemate do think I’m a bit of a weirdo when they see me “wiping acid all over my face” (umm, do they know that Salicylic Acid is an active ingredient in 50% of facial cleansers? Pshh), but the reality is that it’s just too cheap and too raved about not to give it a try! So next time life gives you lemons, forgo the refreshing drink and give your face a pick me up instead. Let me know if you’ve ever tried lemon juice + baking soda for your skin (or if you’re going to), and what kind of results you’ve seen. So far, I’m sold!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • juice from 1/2 lemon, maybe less
  • 4 drops tea tree oil (optional)

Directions:

  1. Put baking soda in a small bowl. Add lemon juice a few drops at a time, just enough to make a paste. Mixture will foam slightly, that’s normal.
  2. If desired, add a few drops of tea tree oil*
  3. Apply paste to face and neck, and leave for 5-30 minutes, depending on what’s comfortable for you. The mixture will dry hard, so be careful not to move your face too much or you’ll get baking soda everywhere as it flakes off!
  4. When ready, wet face slightly and gently rub cheeks and forehead in circular motions. Exfoliate while rinsing off.
  5. If desired, follow with lemon juice as a toner. Let dry for 5 minutes, then apply lots of moisturizer!

*Tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant and is fantastic for the skin. I’ve been using it for years on my face and it really helps reduce the severity and healing time of new breakouts. It can be quite dry though, so be prepared with a good moisturizer.

Take Me Home, Country Road

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The first few times I hit the shops here in Oz, I was told to hit up Country Road, a brand that was previously unknown to me but one that’s been recommended by nearly every Aussie girl I ask for shopping recommendations. The first few times I browsed the store I had to get in and get out really quickly, because I wanted to buy about 98% of their stock. These Aussies know their shiz when it comes to cute clothes (for those of you overseas, think J Crew, minus the rainbow explosion. Country Road is more… neutral friendly).

When I read this post on The Design Files about Country Road homewares I was actually kind of blown away. How had nobody mentioned this to me as I chatted endlessly about wanting to decorate and furnish my new apartment? Even more, how had I been in their store and somehow missed the massive homewares section!? Sometimes I can be so unaware.

I am officially in love with every single thing that Country Road sells for the home. Yes, I am even obsessed with their bath towels. Their bowls and glasses are so understated yet chic, and I’m obsessed with their rustic-yet-colourful cushions. Side note, Luke teases me endlessly about my obsession with anything ‘rustic’, and just doesn’t get how I can love distressed woodwork items so much. Boys… they just have no clue. I’ve also been dying to put together a little gallery wall, similar to this one Monica posted, and this one Julia put together, but I haven’t quite found the perfect, understated yet elegant frames to use. Um, hello, Country Road’s photo frames were made for this! They’ve got a few different styles that are classic yet muted, and thus won’t steal the show from your actual photos. Thus, they would be perfect for a gallery wall. Somebody please, hide my wallet.

As pointed out by my friends who finally shared the CR Homewares secret with me, their stuff is actually somewhat pricey for what it is. I mean, I’d pay $100 for a nice pair of pillows (really, I would), but $40 on a photo frame is a bit steep. Thankfully, Country Road has semi-annual sales, which I’m told are around June and December, and their items are up to 50% off. So basically, there is a god.

The timing works out perfectly for me, because I’ll have enough time to save my bucks for sale-time in June. I can’t figure out what I want first, some great bowls to jazz up my recipe photos, or a couple of these cushions to bring life to our bedroom. What would you choose? Have you already got anything from Country Road Home? How do the items hold up? The one thing I know is that I’m definitely dropping some money on at least a few of the frames for my future gallery wall, because for that kind of thing Ikea just doesn’t cut it. And now, I wait for June.

Beauty Dish: May Favourites

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I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough products to rave about this month since I’m still pretty stuck into the ones I mentioned last month, but I managed to pull out a few that I’d been overlooking my excessive use of this past month. There’s less makeup because I’m still really into the stuff I’ve mentioned in the past – in fact, I went out and repurchased another bottle of this foundation because I can not live without it (and at $10 a bottle in Oz, why try?). As my skin gets clearer, it’s perfect for using just a thin layer to even out complexion and tone, so I’m betting it’s gonna be a favourite of mine for a long time. But this month it’s more about the less on in your face products that I think are the unsung heroes of my beauty life. Every girl loves those items, right? To tell you what’s good, I’ve laid out my favourites below for you so you can try ‘em all out yourself if you’re interested. Have you got any products that you think are better? Do share friends!

Clear Shampoo and Conditioner – I’m not the kind of girl who likes to splurge on shampoo and conditioner because I hate to wash expensive stuff down the drain. I will totally admit that I got sucked in by Miranda Kerr in the Clear ads (her hair is the. best.), but I don’t regret it one bit. The Clear shampoo is super hydrating for my dry hair, and really lathers well and makes my hair feel super clean. The Clear conditioner works even better than my argan oil deep conditioning treatment, which shocked me since the Clear conditioner isn’t even a heavy duty treatment. I’m already on my third set of bottles of this duo, and I’ve tried both the total nourishing care and this moisturising formula and love them both (and now mix them together). I highly recommend this shampoo/conditioner if you’re looking for something to give you great hair without breaking the bank!

Essie ‘Little Brown Dress’ – This nail polish has been on my toes all month, and I’m obsessed with it. It’s obviously winter here in Australia, and as such I’ve been crazy for dark polishes. I bought Little Brown Dress a few years ago thinking it would be a good winter colour that’s not quite as gothic as a black would be, and I was definitely right! The deep chocolate colour is perfect for this time of year, and I’m probably going to pull a double and repaint my toes with it next time they need a change. If you haven’t got this polish or something similarly chocolate-y, get on it!

Sally Hansen ‘Hard As Nails’ – It’s no secret around here that I never pay for a manicure, and instead prefer to do it all myself. Many people argue that manicures from the salon last longer than when they do it at home, but not me. My secret weapon is this top coat from Sally Hansen, which I discovered years ago and have since gone through about 5 bottles of. Hard as Nails is a thick and glossy topcoat that dries unbelievably fast (dry to touch in about 5 minutes, fully set in about an hour) and gives you a glossy-looking manicure for waaaay less money than at the salon. And did I mention it’s ridiculously chip resistant? With one coat of this on top of my colour, I can make my nails last for 5 days chip-free. But if you want to drag it out even longer, do another topcoat about 3-4 days into your manicure and you’ll have no problem going a week without a polish change. If you hate chipped nail polish as much as I do, you have to try this stuff out. And at only $8 a bottle ($4-5 in North America!), I promise your wallet will thank you for it.

L’Oreal Infallible Gel Laquer (in navy) – I bought this gel liner after my MAC fluidline dried up a year ago and I needed a replacement. I wasn’t expecting much for something that was a quarter of the price, but damn! This is possibly one of the best gel liners I’ve ever used – it stays put, it draws on so silky and smooth, and the pigmentation is such that you don’t have to keep tracing over and over to get something dark enough to be seen. I have this one in blue, because that’s the only one that I could find before I moved overseas, but when I go back home I’ll definitely be stocking up on more colours. There is a reason they were sold out last year, so if you’re looking for a gel liner that’s as good as Bobbi Brown and MAC, but doesn’t cost you near as much, you definitely need to pick this one up stat.

Backcomb Brush – My hair is long, abundant, and quite fine, which means that I if it’s left air dried it goes flat on top and poufs out at the bottom (I like to call this ‘triangle head’ – so cute). I flatiron it to keep the triangle under control, but when it comes to my roots, there’s just no amount of volumising spray that can pump those babies up. I used to use a rattail comb to backcomb, but that would inevitably fall flat as soon as I stepped out the door. When I finally decided to invest in a real backcombing brush last year, it was like a miracle walked in the door and sat on the crown of my head! I know that backcombing is not the healthiest thing for your hair, but I’d honestly rather have flyaways on top than limp and lifeless roots, so for me, this brush is a total godsend. I spray sections of my roots with hairspray (I use this one and swear by it), then backcomb a few times and move onto the next section. In total it takes me about 4 minutes in the morning, and my volume stays all day without fail. Best part? This one from Revlon is only $4 (uh, much better than the $20 I paid for mine). Flat haired ladys have to share their secrets to Gretchen Weiners hair, and that’s mine. Get on it, triangle heads unite!

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