Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Deconstruction of My 'Take on Me' Cover

So I decided to record a video of me singing and upload it to YouTube. Sounds like asking for trouble, right?

Well, let me start off by saying that I fucking love singing. I sing all day, every day. I sing in the car, at top volume, going down main street with the windows open. I. do. not. care. If I'm at a party and somebody asks me to sing, I just do. I'm only a tiny bit shy.

So why did I hesitate for so long about putting a cover on YouTube? I don't care if random people hear me singing. I don't even care if they hate me, because I don't know them. Now I'm not claiming to be a great singer - I know I'm not tone-deaf but it's not about that. It's about me having fun. And it was fun for me to record that video.

I didn't want to do it for ages because I thought, "Who wants to hear me singing with no accompaniment?" I thought I'd have to play piano or cute-ukulele. But I don't know how to play those instruments. I know how to sing (and I don't know anything other than that).

In reality, I was just procrastinating. So at 1am one Wednesday night, I thought 'fuck it'. If people don't wanna hear me singing with no accompaniment, they don't have to watch. But I had my fun, and that's all that matters!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Made My Bed

Just try a little harder,
This is my lot in life.
He hits me, blames me,
It's all my fault.
He is all I've got.

If I could just be a bit better
He wouldn't scare me,
I've made my bed,
Now I have to lie in it,

I love him,
Now I have to lie with him.

If I could just agree,
He wouldn't grab me,
Shake me, throw me,
He's worth it, I swear to myself,
As I cower in our bedroom.

We said forever and I meant it,
As he screams, cries,
Walks in the room and doesn't look me in the eyes,
I can't leave.
This is my lot in life.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tutorial: Purple, Blue & Black Eyeshadow


This look centres around Urban Decay Kiddie Pool and uses mostly colours from the Urban Decay Sustainable Shadow Box. I really like this palette but I don't use it that often as it's mostly bright colours that are more for going out than day-to-day wear.


On my eyes, I used:
  • Urban Decay Primer Potion
  • Victoria Jackson Shadow Stick in White
  • UD Uzi, a heavy-glitter, silver-white colour (2nd from top right in the palette pictured below)
  • UD Grifter, a shimmering lilac (middle on top row)
  • UD Kiddie Pool, a shimmering sky blue (2nd from bottom right)
  • UD Ransom, a strongly blue-toned purple
  • UD Oil Slick, a glittering black (middle on bottom row)
  • UD Virgin, a very pale beige
  • Victoria Jackson Shadow Stick in Black (as eyeliner)
  • Maybelline Colossal Volum' Express Cat Eyes Mascara 



1. Apply primer and Victoria Jackson White Shadow Stick all over the eyelid and up to the eyebrow.


2. With a large fluffy brush, apply Uzi all over the eyelid and up to the brow bone. Switch to a smaller, flat brush and pack on Grifter to the inner half of the eyelid and along the inner half of the lower lash line.


3. Sticking with your flat brush, apply Kiddie Pool to the outer half of the eyelid and up to the crease. Also apply it along the middle of the lower lashline. Next, apply Ransom to the crease and blend up to the brow bone. Bring it along the outer lower lashline too.


4. Apply a dot of Oil Slick to the outer corner of the eye. Blend it all along the crease to add depth. Clean your brush thoroughly on a piece of tissue or dry cloth, and pack Virgin beneath your eyebrow to highlight.


5. Line with a black kohl eyeliner and go over this with Oil Slick and an angled brush. Curl your lashes and apply mascara. Apply a pale pink lipstick and lip gloss. Et voila!





Let me know what you think of this tutorial and if you have any suggestions for future looks, please let me know!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Tutorial: How to Put In Extensions


Today I'll tell you how to put in extensions, since I get asked this fairly often. I use extensions to add length but they're also a great way to add volume if that's what you want. By the way, this is my hundreth blog post, wahey! Enjoy :D

1. Decide how many sections to divide your hair into. I'm dividing mine into four. Tie up the top three sections, leaving only a thin section along the nape of the neck.



2. Take a strip of your extensions and open the clips. My extensions are colored light red and dark red. It's been a while since I last colored my hair, so I'm putting the dark red ones underneath and the light red ones on top. Love my sexy makeupless face :P



3. Put the clips right up to the part in your hair and snap them shut, shutting the middle one first. If your hair is freshly washed or very fine, you'll need to backcomb along the part first to provide grip and stop the clips from slipping out.



4. Divide your hair into another section. This time I part it from ear to ear. Take the next section of extensions and apply it just the same.

 



5. Next, I make a part in line with the arches of my eyebrows. This is just the way I always do it! You probably have your own system for dividing your hair :)




6. This part is going to cover a greater area than the first two, so we're going to use two extension strips (and I'm going to use my first light red one).


7. Start by clipping the first strip in beginning at your left ear, and clipping round to the back of your head.



8. The next strip should be started at your right ear and clipped round to the back of your head in the same way. They'll probably overlap slightly and this is fine.


9. The last section we make is around the top of your head, leaving about an inch of your own hair to cover the extension tracks (depending on how thick your hair is). I'm only making it on one side as I have a side parting and my hair is naturally thicker on this side.


10. The extensions I'm using now are small sections on just one clip. I'll be using six of these.


11. I'll be using four on my left side (the side with the parting) and two on my right side.


Here's the finished product!


BUT it doesn't look that natural, especially not from the back. Lots of people can get away with just putting extensions in like this, but my hair is very thick and because I dye it, it's constantly changing colour.


So what do? Pin the front strands back. Pin them back with bobby pins or take a big fat bow like I did and pin them back. This makes the distinction between your natural hair and the extensions less obvious, plus it looks pretty.



Hope you liked my first proper hair tutorial!

What's On Your Nightstand?

This is my college bedside table in Dublin. Pretty much the same stuff is on my home one in Roscommon though, only it looks prettier!


1. My DCU Student Diary and Planner. I have the need to write absolutely everything down, and this is where it all goes. Without this I don't know how I'd organise my overflowing social life... Hehe.

2. I always read before I go to sleep. Currently I'm reading Club Dead by Charlaine Harris... Yes, that's a DCU library sticker. What did you think I'm gonna use the university library for? Academic books? Pfft.

3. Lip balm, currently Roc Sun Stick, but my lip balms are constantly rotating between my room and my hand bag. Pretty funny cause my lips don't see the sun in bed. I love this though it's really silky.

4. Bach White Chestnut stuff. Helps me sleep when my brain won't 'switch off'.

5. Obligatory ugly studenty lamp lol.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Deserted Shore Painting

I painted a pickur and I wanted to show you.



I wanna be here. It's serene. I did it in watercolour on heavy paper. I like the setting sun casting the purple light on the sand dune.

I should be doing an analysis on this picture for college, but I'm doing everything in my power to avoid it. Any suggestions on what to say about are more than welcome.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Make-Up Tutorial: Naked Palette Gold and Brown

I'm addicted to Urban Decay eyeshadow. I've actually had the Naked Palette for over a year now and I will never get bored of it. It has everything I need. Normally I never wore gold colours as I didn't think they suited my skin tone but I decided to step out of my comfort zone. I think with my new red hair it doesn't make my skin tone look weird any more.

By the way, I apologise for my crappy pictures. I intend to buy a sexy DSLR next month, so if you have any suggestions or advice of which one I should buy, please let me know. There's so much choice and I don't know where to start looking.




On my face, I used: 
  • IsaDora High Performance All-Day Foundation in 01 Rose Beige (I don't like this foundation, it goes blotchy on me)
  • Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat
  • IsaDora Perfect Powder Rouge in 43 Rosy Dawn
  • The brown eyeshadow from the Victoria Jackson Baby Doll Colour Kit, which doesn't seem to have a name! Used for contouring under cheekbones and at temples.
  • L'Oreal Glam Shine Holographic Liquid Lip Colour in 82 Gold Cappucino
On my eyes, I used:

  • Urban Decay Primer Potion
  • Victoria Jackson Eyeshadow Stick in Champagne
  • Urban Decay Sin
  • UD Virgin
  • UD Naked
  • UD Buck
  • UD Half Baked
  • UD Hustle
  • Victoria Jackson Eyeshadow Stick in Black
  • UD Creep
  • Maybelline Colossal Volum' Express Cat Eyes Mascara
You of course don't have to have these exact colours to recreate this look, any similar colours will do just fine, and if you don't want to use every colour or do every step, you don't have to - it will still turn out nice.

1. Start by priming your eyelids and underneath your eyes using UD Primer Potion. Then, apply the Champagne Eyeshadow Stick all over your eyelids and all the way up to your eyebrows. Blend a little with your ring finger, especially at the inner and outer corners.

2. Using a fluffy blending brush, apply Sin all over the eyelids and all the way up to the brow bone.

For the sake of the photos, I filled in my eyebrows before I started, using the Victoria Jackson brown mixed with Hustle. Normally I would leave this till my eyeshadow is finished, before applying mascara.



3. Next, use Virgin to highlight the inner corner of the eyes and on the brow bone.

4. Apply Naked just on the eyelids themselves.

5. Switching to a flat eyeshadow brush, apply Half Baked on the eyelids. Really pack it on, focusing on the centre of your eyelids, above where the pupil is.



6. Apply Buck to the outer-V and into the crease of your eyelid.


7. Apply Hustle to the outer-V and crease, and along the bottom lashline. Blend blend blend.

8. Touch up your Virgin highlight. Line your eyes, top and bottom, with a crayon or pencil eyeliner. I used Victoria Jackson Black Eyeshadow Stick. Then, for staying power, go over it with a black eyeshadow like Creep and an angled brush. Curl your lashes, apply lashings of mascara, and camwhore.



If you're like me, you'll want to take pictures of yourself and then make them look vintage using Pixlr-O-Matic.


And I just wanted to put this pic up cause I'm really happy with it. I was just testing the camera didn't even have any eye make-up on and I think it looks NAYSE.


I really hope you liked my first tutorial, and if you have any comments, suggestions or (constructive) criticism please leave a comment!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Domestic Abuse: You Can Live Through This

(Names are changed) 
How many of us think we could never be a victim of domestic violence? What is domestic violence? In this article, I interview Áine, a survivor of intimate partner violence. Domestic violence is not just physical assault, it can also be threats thereof, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, controlling behaviour, manipulation, intimidation, stalking and economic abuse. It is often associated with alcoholism and mental illness.

Áine is a young woman whose ex-partner subjected her to physical, verbal, emotional and sexual abuse. Only Áine’s closest friends know that she has been a victim of domestic violence. “I can’t tell anyone because I fear they will think it wasn’t ‘real abuse’. He never actually punched me. He shoved me, he picked me up and threw me back down, he grabbed me so hard that he bruised me, but he never punched or slapped me – so is that ‘real domestic abuse?’ After I left, my friend and housemate told me that he wasn’t trying to hurt me, but that he was restraining me. I asked her in what situation does a grown adult need to be restrained? She didn’t have an answer for that, but she still took his side. He turned all my friends against me. I also don’t tell people that I was raped because they might think it wasn’t ‘real rape’ as the perpetrator was my boyfriend.” Abuse does not have to be physical. Trust your gut – if something feels wrong, it is.

Nobody thinks that they could 'end up' in an abusive relationship. How many times have you heard a woman say that she wouldn't 'let' that happen to her?  Being abused is not a choice, and the victims of domestic violence cannot control the actions of their partners. Victim blaming is a huge issue in society surrounding rape and domestic violence. It's painful to hear someone saying 'She is asking to be raped,' referring to a women's choice of dress. Áine says, 'my so-called friends blamed me for what he did to me. They thought that there must be something I had done to incite such a reaction from him. There is nothing in the world I could have done to deserve that treatment. My friends told me they were worried about me, that I was mentally ill and I needed to be sectioned. I didn't. My abusive boyfriend threatened to call an ambulance whenever I tried to leave, he made both me and my friends believe that what he was doing was for my own good.' This is due to something called the 'Just-World Hypotheses'.

The Just-World Hypothesis is a common cognitive bias. We want to believe that victims of misfortune did something to deserve it. According to Claire Andre and Manuel Velasquez, “people have a strong desire or need to believe that the world is an orderly, predictable, and just place, where people get what they deserve.” If someone believes that you must behave in a certain way in order to be domestically abused, then they can rationalize that it could never happen to them as long as they do not make this mistake.


Abusive partners are extremely manipulative. Áine and her aggressor lived together with friends of hers who saw and heard the violence take place, but blamed her. “I was so traumatized while the abuse was taking place that I withdrew. I stayed in the bedroom most of the time towards the end of the relationship, when the abuse reached its peak. He was constantly downstairs, talking to our friends. He was telling them that I had become mentally ill and he was trying to stop me from hurting myself. He convinced them that I was delusional, that I thought he was abusing me, and not to believe anything I said. He was a master manipulator. They truly believed that everything he did to me was for my own good. They still do. They don’t speak to me anymore, but now I realize that I’m better off without them.”

Women need to stand up and say ‘I was victimized.’ “When I left, my family told me to keep quiet as he threatened to sue me for slander. I wish I could stand up and say ‘I was abused’ and campaign against it. I wish I could go to court to seek justice for what he did to me, but the thoughts of having to re-live every horror are overwhelming. I have nightmares about him almost every night. I just want to move on with my life.” The stigma, blame and shame surrounding domestic violence needs to be dissolved. The more women who talk about it, the more society will understand.

Áine’s abuser didn’t always treat her badly. “He used to be a nice guy. For a long time, we were genuinely happy together.” He only began to behave violently towards her when he started to abuse alcohol and drugs. “I don’t know what triggered it, but he started to get drunk or take drugs, every single night. He started off with cannabis, then very quickly moved on to drugs like DMT and ecstasy. I never really thought drugs were that bad, and I didn’t have much against them. I think it’s socially acceptable to use certain drugs. Now I would never touch them, because I’ve seen what they can turn a decent person into. The man I first fell in love with no longer exists, he is a completely different person now. He didn’t just abuse me when he was drunk or high, these substances changed his entire personality forever.”

Many women who are lucky enough to never have been victim of abuse wonder why these women do not simply leave. When Áine is asked why, she gives a number of reasons. “When it first started, I made excuses for him. I loved him so much, and being with him was all I ever knew. I thought he was just having a bad day, that it was a once-off, and that he would soon go back to his old self. As time passed, I began to wonder whether I was overreacting. He told me it was my fault in various ways, and he was very convincing. I thought that if I could just do what he says, if I could just agree with what he does, the torment would stop. It only worsened. I went to the local Garda station to tell them what happened, but they couldn’t do anything for me, and when I returned, I suffered the consequences. He told me he’d kill himself if I left him. I finally tried to leave one night, but he caught me running down the road and dragged me back, kicking and screaming. He was much taller and heavier than I and I was powerless to escape. He severely injured both of my wrists in the process, and they still haven’t fully recovered. I don’t think they ever will. When he returned with me to the house, he told my housemates that I was running away to commit suicide, and they watched me 24/7. When he went out, he took my phone with me so I couldn’t call for help. He even took my money. So the answer is, truly, I couldn’t leave, even if I wanted to.”

So how did she eventually get away? “I called my parents. That worked for me. There is always someone you can call, be it a person or an organization. I told him they were picking me up. In reality, I was taking the bus, but I believed that he wouldn’t try to stop me if I told him I was being collected, and miraculously, I was right.” Domestic abuse can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. Nobody is immune. Domestic abuse does not have to be physical. Domestic abuse can also consist of threats, endangerment, criminal coercion, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, trespassing, harassment and stalking. By leaving, you are doing the right thing.

How do you recognize that you are in an abusive relationship? If you feel you love and hate the person at the same time, you are angry with yourself or them, or you feel trapped, depressed or worthless, the relationship is not good for you. Áine’s advice is to leave, because “No matter how bad you think life will be without them, it will be better than with them. Nobody should have to be afraid in his or her own home. Life will change for the better.” 

Does your partner put you down verbally? Does he isolate you from friends and family? Does he wrongly accuse you of being unfaithful or of doing things you haven’t done? Does he make you account for every penny you spend? Does he prevent you from going to work or college? Does he shove, slap, hit or undermine you in front of your children? Has he ever destroyed your property or threatened your pets? Does he insist that you have sex even if you don’t want to, or insist that you do things with which you are uncomfortable? Does he threaten to commit suicide or kill you if you leave? If you have experienced even one of the above, you could be in an abusive relationship, according to domesticviolence.ie.

How can you get out? If you can’t leave yet, at least have a plan in place. Keep a bag packed and hidden, ready to go. Pack important documents such as your passport and birth certificate, along with some money and, if possible, another mobile phone. Keep the number of the local Garda station in your phone. Remember that you are not to blame – you can never control or take responsibility for another person’s actions. Find out where your local refuge is and contact them. Women’s Aid provide such services as counseling and court accompaniment. Ring the Women's Aid National Freephone Helpline on 1800 341 900. The Helpline is open between 10am to 10pm, every day of the year, except Christmas Day.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

1. Keep calm and stay classy.

2. Say 'fuck it' several times a day, every day.

3. Make time for creative stuff.

4. Become a published poet.

...I guess that's it. I think my New Year's resolutions are great! I wasn't going to make any since I thought that I've changed enough this year for the better, but then making resolutions is actually quite fun and there's always room for improvement. It's liberating that for probably the first year since puberty, losing weight isn't one of my resolutions, because I've already done that, along with breaking almost every other bad habit I have... I'm so proud of how cool I became in 2011!

Here's to 2012. This is my year. I've earned it.