Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Parenting A Toddler

First, a disclaimer that I am not in any way a child development professional.....just a mama :)

So, Ava is now 18 months old and so the last year and half I've got to dive into parenting and more recently, parenting a toddler.

I wanted to share with you a few points that I have learned along the way, that really works for Jeremy and I with our daughter.

Hopefully some of these may help you on your journey, and if you have any that you would like to share, please feel free to in the comments and continue the conversation!


And please remember that this is just what worked for us, and what worked for us may not work for others- but I wanted to share as it may help someone out there!

○ ROUTINE....KIND OF
I completely agree with the idea of getting your kids into a routine, so that there is some familiarity and structure. However, I believe this is true (for me anyway) to a certain extent. We have set a few routines in place for Ava, like morning routine & bedtime routine. However, my routines ends there. I don't have set times for anything, and we just work around each day based on the plans in place.

Has this made Ava a bad sleeper or out of sorts? Heck no!! In fact, I feel that she is very relaxed and very adjustable because of this. She just goes with the flow, and goes to sleep whenever I start her nap or bedtime routine.......well, most of the time - she is a toddler after all!
Same with eating, she just goes with the flow. Of course, the variance in time is relatively minor but she is such a flexible kid and she just adapts very easily.
This may just be how Ava is but we did decide to take this approach from beginning, so I do believe, to a degree, that you can shape this type of characteristic in your child.

○ TOUGHEN UP KID
Before we had Ava, I vowed to make sure I had a tough kid. I didn't want a kid that would cry at the drop of the hat at anything and everything. I strongly believe that if parents over react to kids falling over etc, then the kid will learn that over reacting is normal for minor things.
From the very beginning we took the approach of downplaying any 'injuries', so that she wouldn't cry at every little bump and trip. If she fell over, I'd quickly take her mind off it by pointing out something fun. If she bumped her head a little on a side table, I'd say "naughty table!!" and then again change the focus. 
Of course if something serious happened like a proper fall etc, I'd sweep her into my arms and cuddle her, but I'd always try and make her giggle and get her attention away from the injury as quickly as possible.

○ AFFORDABLE LIVING 
Before we had a baby we always heard from people that it's expensive to have a baby. I don't actually know who told us this; it could of been many people or it may have just been assumed through things we've heard over the years? Either way, we were prepared but optimistic that we could still live affordably with a baby...and you know what - a baby is generally NOT expensive. 
Of course if you have unforseen circumstances that are outside the normal "baby expenses" categories, then of course it will be a completely different story but I want to share with you on how we have kept our baby expenses low and continue to do so. 
Gone are the days of two nappy brands with exorbitant price tags. We got our nappys from the Coles or Woolworths line for $11 for a pack of 40-50. This would last us 2 weeks - so practically an unnoticeable expense! No need to fork out $30+ for packet anymore. Same goes for baby wipes- I'd get the $2 packets from the same lines and they would come in scented or unscented. You don't have to sell your organs to buy "luxury" branded disposables, because let's face it, they crap in them anyway and you toss them out! 
We bought bottles and sippy cups from the BigW Dimples range for $2!! And they worked amazing, were BPA free and did the job. 
We would also shop for her clothes & shoes at BigW, Target, Kmart and Best & Less. Have you seen the little girls clothes in there!? Why bother with expensive baby clothes when these places sell beyond adorable clothes for such a low price! 
Another place I would shop was Ebay. I'd get her headbands, stockings, shoes and some outfits from there for tiny prices. The shoes were always fantastic quality, as were the headbands. The clothes were sometimes hit & miss but for $7 a piece it was worth the risk and I learnt how to tell the good from the bad as I went along!

○ SECOND HAND MAMA 
I got so many hand-me-downs from family and friends, and I can't tell you how thankful I was. 
Don't be afraid to accept donations and don't be afraid to go out and look in second hand stores. Second hand for babies and kids is alot different to adults clothing. Most of the time, children's clothes is worn once or twice before they have grown out of it and it's donated. So alot of the time you will find some near new pieces at crazy prices and sometimes from high end brands! 
Toys are also great to have handed down to you and I can honestly say that more than half of Avas toybox is from her cousin or friends. 
This also leads me to furniture and gadgets. I got bottles, bassinets, carseats, swings, carriers etc handed down to me from friends and family and happily accepted these. Why spend more money when you have been given free items in great condition? Also ask around if anyone is selling their old baby things and I'm sure you will great deals!

○ DO YOU 
The last point I wanted to address was to just do you and don't listen to unsolicited opinions. If you like to use food pouches instead of homemade purees- awesome! If you have the TV on as background noise in your house - great! If you veg out on the couch drinking coffee while your kid plays (yep)- that's totally fine. You know you are doing a great job and you don't need over aggressive parents and/or keyboard warriors telling you how to parent. 

The boom of social media has nicely coincided  with (or maybe caused?) the eco, tech-free & natural parenting phenomenan that is all the buzz and it's almost "insta-proper" do be this way. And whilst these are great philosophies to live by, it's not always achievable and it's not always suitable. Don't let the trend dictate your parenting style or make you feel like the way you parent is wrong. As long as they are fed well, getting sleep, are developing their skills & are being loved - then that's all that matters and you are flipping amazing!!!

Please share any tips or advice that you would want to pass on! 


"Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2 

God Bless, Love Julz xx

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Affordable Makeup Brands

I have been freelancing as a Makeup Artist for over seven years now. I started out by doing family weddings and events, and eventually I started running my own business. So I know a thing or two when it comes to makeup products and techniques.

In my kit, I stock a mixture of products from professional lines and high end brands, as well as a couple of drugstore brands thrown in for good measure. When people pay for a makeup artist, they are also paying for the high-end brands that is expected in a professional kit.

When it comes to my personal makeup kit though, 99% of the time you will find 'drugstore' or affordable makeup brands. One reason is because, as I have mentioned already, I love a good bargain and finding cheaper alternatives. The other reason is because drugstore brands are giving higher end brands a run for their money in quality, so why waste your money?

In future posts, I plan on going into specifics products and my favourites within those categories but today I wanted to talk about makeup brands that I love as a whole and use all the time on myself.




budget makeup brands

Essence
Essence is a European brand that popped up in the Australian market a few years ago now. It's relatively new in the makeup world but they are making waves with a very low price point, with liners starting at $2 and foundations around $6. Despite the low price point, the quality is really high for the most part, with many of the products rivalling those from higher brands. In particular, I am a massive fan of their lip range, mascaras, blushes and brow products. On the flip side, I would probably avoid their foundations, setting powder & concealers. Apart from that, you really can't go wrong!

Australis
Obviously, by the name, Australis is an Australian based brand. The quality of their products are so great and their diverse range available is just amazing. They have the usual lot of products available, but they also introduced a few products that have really made the brand a front runner in competing against the high end brands.
Firstly, they were one of the first drugstore brands to bring out a contour kit and in a few shade options too. The quality of these kits are so high with superb pigmentation and the price is just so low - how can you go wrong?
Another cult favourite from this brand is their Velourlips line. These matte liquid lipsticks give Jeffery Starr and Anastasia Beverly Hills a run for their money and they have popped up on social media accounts and in professional makeup kits all over Australia.

Maybelline
You can't talk about affordable makeup brands and not talk about Maybelline. I have used so many products from this line over the years and I definitely have some holy grails that have been on repeat for awhile now. Basically you can't go wrong specifically with Maybelline foundations, concealers & mascaras. I will talk about my specific favourites in a future post but honestly I've never really had an issue with any thing from this brand.

Rimmel
It's pretty well known, that Rimmel is a one stop shop for an affordable makeup kit. Again I've had Rimmel in my kit for many years now and I think I even started out with one of my first foundations from there! Again you cant really go wrong with this line, but I tend to always go back to their face powders, eyeliners & lipsticks specifically.

These are the main brands that I tend to make a beeline for when I go shopping and I love the most overall and features the most over the years in my kit. Some other honourable mentions include Covergirl, Ulta3, Mode (available in Coles), Nyx & Loreal.

Keep an eye out for future posts where I talk in more detail about my favourite products/brands for each category of makeup. I may even go into other beauty categories as well, like hair, skin etc! 


He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end - Ecclesiastes 3:11

God Bless
Love Julz xx

Friday, June 30, 2017

Op Shopping: Tips & Tricks


In the last year, I have really embraced the world of op shopping. Call it what you will, second hand shopping, thrift shopping or consignment shopping; in all its many forms, its just a great way to shop.

You do not have to find yourself in a financial situation before heading into one of these stores because I can tell you now that everyone and anyone can benefit from stepping out of the comfort zones and entering into their local charity stores. Not only will you be sure to find yourself MANY bargains, but you will also be contributing to a local charity to help with a great cause. In my local area I have stores supporting the Salvation Army, church missions and the RSPCA to name a few. Also, many people choose to shop via consignment stores so as they aren't contributing to the fast fashion industry.

The main reason I shop in op shops is because I love the thrill of finding a bargain. I blame my mother for this, as she would always get excited over a sale and well my sister and I seemed to have acquired the need for an awesome deal. I would say that about 75% of my wardrobe is now from the thrift store and I love it. It saves me money in this area, so that I can spend on other areas in my life that feel is more worth it to me.

I recommend op shopping to so many of my friends and family but I am often met with either a look of horror or confusion. Many are just not aware of how to approach op shopping and what to look out for. So, I am going to lay it out for you and go through my tips & tricks for shopping in an op shop.



1. Yes op shops smell different

Believe it or not, when you combine everyone’s old clothes together, with their different laundry detergence and their different life stories, the combination is going to smell strange. Don't let that deter you - it does not mean that the clothes a grubby. Once you have been into a few stores you don't even really notice the smell anymore, and infact once you throw the items into the wash, they smell just like the rest of your wardrobe.

2. Go with a plan

Op Shops can be extremely overwhelming for first time shoppers. The stores are packed to the brim with odds and ends and it’s hard to know where to begin. I like to go on with list of pieces or trends that I can keep my out for. It just gives you some things to focus on amidst the chaos.

3. Don't worry about brands

I have been so surprised by the brands of the clothes that I have picked up in op shops. I would say that vast majority of items have come from places like Millers, Katie’s and Sussans. I never really stepped foot in those stores as I always thought that they just weren’t my style, but I have found their clothes to be of such a quality and amazing fit. And on the other side of the argument, don’t buy a piece because of the brand name. Just because its a high end brand, does not mean that you HAVE to have it. If it fits well and will suit your wardrobe, then definitely but don’t be sucked in by a label.

4. Try Everything On

You will be dealing with so many brands at one time, that you wont have any idea on if a piece will fit you. You will often get sucked into the idea of "it only costs $5, so ill just risk it and try it on at home"..... well once this fails a few times, you end up with a lot of pieces that don't fit and you have to then donate them back.

5. Stick to your size or larger

Too many times I ventured into the smaller section of the racks and was only met with disappointment when I found an amazing item. It's important to remember that you can just find a bigger size in an item that you like, like in conventional stores. Save yourself the disappointment by sticking with your size range or larger. At least if you find something in a larger size, you can have it taken in or you can belt it,

So these are my tips for shopping in op shops. Make a plan, go with an open mind and try on your finds.

I hope this helps and please leave me a comment and ask me any questions that you may have. I will do a follow up post on what to look for in op shops, as well as my recommendations of the best op shops in the Gold Coast, and other locations as I explore them!


If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me - Jeremiah 29:13

Love Julz xx



Thursday, June 29, 2017

2017 Relaunch

Welcome to the 2017 relaunch of Love Julz.

As you can see from my archive list, I have been blogging since 2010-  so around 7 years now. I didn't really have a direction then with what I wanted this blog to focus on, and to be honest, the last 7 years have been just a mish mash of posts from fashion, beauty and recently, motherhood.

Having turned 30 this year, I really feel like I have a better understanding on who I am, and what I would like to share with my audience. In am very passionate about the makeup industry, being a freelance makeup artist, as well as a strong interest in fashion and trends. My life in general also revolves around my faith as a Christian, and also as a mother to a toddler. The thing that tends to drive me in most of those areas however, is finding affordable ways to live and indulge.

I blame this bargain hunting thrill on my mother. She would always sniff out a sale and proudly show off her incredible discounts, and this rubbed off on me in a major way.



I love to find affordable alternatives to almost anything. So whether it be finding cheaper dupes for higher end makeup products or shopping in thrift stores for clothing items; to me living in an affordable way allows our family to allocate our budget to other areas in our life such as eating out or going on holidays,

Do I sacrifice by shopping "cheaper" or more thrifty? Defintely not - and that's what I want to share with you on this blog.

So come along for the ride and join in the conversation!!




"Dear Friends, since God loved us, we also ought to love one another" 1 John 4:11

Love Julz xx

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Natural Makeup | Glam Life

This is my go to makeup look. It's quick, it's simple, it only uses a few products and it's just and nice fresh look for everyday.

Let me talk you through how I do it!




1. Start out with fresh, moisturised skin. Apply an oil free sunscreen now and let it sink in.

2. After applying some mattifying primer on my nose and cheeks, I apply my foundation and work in with a damp beauty sponge. Try and keep it sheer to medium coverage. Nothing too heavy. If you have problem skin, use concealer to spot conceal.

3. I apply concealer under my eyes and on any problem areas. I again use a damp beauty sponges to work in for a flawless finish. Lightly dust your face with a translucent powder.

4. Using a contour trio pallette (blush, contour & highlighter), I apply the contour colour below my cheekbones. Go from the middle of your ear towards your mouth but only going as far as in line with the outer part of your eye. Blend it out. I then apply the blush to the apples of my cheek and blend upward towards the top of my ear. Lastly light sweep some highlighter ontop of the cheek bones.  All three colours should blend seamlessly into each other.

5. Using the same contour pallette, use a fluffy brush to apply contour colour to the the crease of your lid. You want to look straight ahead in a mirror and place your brush under your browbone and apply in a windscreen wiper motion. You want to just be able to see this shadow with your eye open. Slightly bring it up a little on the outer corner and blend.

6. With the blush colour, apply with a flat shadow brush all over the lid. Use a fluffy brush to blend any lines. I then grab the highlight colour and apply to the inner corners of the eye.

7. Using a dome or pencil brush, apply she blush colour under your lash line, keeping the density to the outter eye. Grab some of the contour colour and blend in as well. Don't bring the colour into inner corner- fade it out.

8. Keep brows natural by using a tinted brow gel and brush into place.

9. Apply two coats of your favourite mascara (each coat should be about 10-15 swipes - move onto next eye and them go back for second coat)



I love a pink lip on myself but choose your favorite summery colour like coral, nude, rose etc and apply.

God bless


Friday, October 28, 2016

Rice & Kale Bowl | In The Kitchen

I love cooking shows. My TV, when it's on, is usually on the Food Network (unless ABC kids is on lol).

I was watching an episode of Tia Mowrys cooking show and she had this delicious looking quinoa breakfast bowl (linked here) and I wanted to recreate it and tweak it a little to suit more of a lunch time meal, and also I am not a fan of quinoa - so rice it is!

Please note that it is personal preference on measurements and how much you want of each ingredient....it's not a cake - no need for measuring :)
I will put down my approximates though....


Side note: I'm a kale chips convert!!!

Rice & Kale Bowl

1/2 Cup of Brown rice
80g BBQ chicken (hot from supermarket)
1 large egg
Handful of Kale chips (used this recipe)
Salt and Pepper
Hot sauce
1 TBSP Parmesen cheese
1 TSP Marjoram
1/2 TSP Smoked Paprika
1 TSP Garlic Aoli
1 TBSP Chipotle Sauce
Salt and Pepper

1. Make up some kale chips as per recipe above or however you like to make them.











2. Heat up some brown rice. I had microwave packets and stored remains in fridge.











3. Into the rice, mix marjoram, aoli, salt, pepper and smoked paprika.  You can use any sauce/spice/herb combo that you wish.

4. Fry an egg in your favourite vegetable oil.











5. If needed, reheat your BBQ chicken with any method you prefer.

6. Spoon some rice mixture into a bowl. Sprinkle the kale chips on top to one side. Add some chicken next to the kale and then place your egg slightly covering the kale and chicken (presentation is key!)











7. Sprinkle with some more salt and pepper. Add a dash of hot sauce (ore more) and finish with some parmesen cheese.

Enjoy!!!

God bless







Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tropical Days | Style Me Up

Tropical prints are so on trend on right now. They are on homeware items, accessories and clothing fabrics everywhere.

You don't have to be on a beach to pull off the tropical look. In fact, wearing tropical prints does not mean you have to look like you are on an island either.

Below I have put together 4 looks for work, brunch, night out and weekend, to help give you some ideas on how you could wear your next tropical buy!


Tropical Days

Tropical Days

Tips 

• Don't go crazy mixing prints

• Pick out a colour from the print and match your accessories or other clothing items to it.

• Denim is a neutral item- pair with any print.

• If prints are too much for you, maybe pick out one of these fun items to get yourself on the bandwagon





Tropical extras




God bless x