New Orleans: A Guide to The Big Easy

Oh man, did I love New Orleans! Widely known as the birthplace of jazz, it's a totally different world compared to other American cities I've visited. I'd wanted to go for years so when my boyfriend's cousin proposed to his southern belle I was very happy we were invited to their wedding. The wedding itself was fantastic, and if you didn't know, a huge part of New Orleans culture is the second line - they love a good parade so after the ceremony everyone walked out of the cathedral while a brass band played. We then followed the band and the wedding party, dancing through the streets waving our white handkerchiefs all the way to the reception venue and it was such an awesome experience!

New Orleans: A Guide to The Big Easy

Current Beauty Favourites

It's been a while since I've done one of these! Usually I'll include whatever beauty bits I'm particularly enjoying in one of my In My Secret Life posts, but I've got quite a few things to mention this time so I thought they deserved their own post. I haven't been wearing much makeup since I've been in Toronto because running errands and applying for jobs just doesn't warrant it, but there are a couple of things that have been floating my boat, as well as some skincare and a few other bits too.

Current Beauty Favourites

San Francisco: A Guide

I thought this time around for my travel posts I would write them in more of a city guide style because I love referring to other blogger's guides when I'm going somewhere new. I had such a great time on my trip back in Feb/March and I feel like I have a lot of fun recommendations to share. I am super biased because of my love for the Beat Generation, but San Francisco is one of my favourite cities, and there's so much to see and do there even if all the Beat stuff isn't that exciting for you. And you can expect posts about New Orleans and Texas coming soon!

San Francisco: A Guide

In My Secret Life: Toronto Update!

I'm very excited to say that I'm writing this post from Toronto because I live here now! Although there have definitely been some hiccups along the way, we're both really happy to be here and absolutely love the place.

In My Secret Life: Toronto Update!

Declutter: Palettes

I had planned to get this post up before the move but I ran out of time. This is the last of my initial declutter posts, and decluttering my palettes definitely took some tough decision making, though fortunately I had many months to mentally prepare myself to let go of these. There are some I reach for all the time and have no hesitation about bringing, but the ones I didn't find myself reaching for I made an effort to really test out to see if I fell in love. Palettes are one of the bulkiest makeup items to travel with so no matter how much of a cult product is it, if I didn't think it was worth bringing halfway around the world with me, then I decided to let go.

Declutter: Palettes

In My Secret Life

Boy, life has been busy lately. Not that I expected anything less, which is why I'm really glad I was able to take some time away from working to sort everything out before the move. We leave on Tuesday, May 30, and we both can't wait to just get over there and get started!

In My Secret Life

Declutter: Blushes

As previously mentioned, I'm moving overseas and am downsizing my makeup! Blush is one of those products that I have a thing for and really enjoy using. I've owned a lot of blush in my time and have given most of it away to family and friends, so I thought I already had my blush collection down to a "reasonable" size. But when push comes to shove, as it has in this case, it turns out there's quite a few I can still bear to part with.

Declutter: Blushes

Declutter: Concealer, Highlighter, Brows

Welcome to part two of my makeup declutter series (here's part one in case you missed it). Same deal as before, if you didn't know, my boyfriend and I are moving overseas in a couple of weeks and I need to downsize, big time. Anything I'm not bringing with me is being given to family and friends or will be going in the bin as things like concealer that I've had for a couple of years is a bit gross to pass on to someone else.

Declutter: Concealer, Highlighter, Brows

On Being in a Style Rut

It's taken me a while to realise it, but I've finally come to accept that I'm in the middle of a style rut. I wanted to write about it not just because it might resonate with any of you, but also because you might have some help or advice for me and I'd love to start some conversation. I feel like I'm finally getting through the halfway point and I'm starting to take control and make my way to where I want to be. I know there are far, far greater problems to have in life, but for me and for many people, getting dressed every day is a form of self expression and being in a rut is just like any other creative outlet, so it's pretty shit when when you feel like you've lost your mojo.

On Being in a Style Rut

Declutter: Primers, Foundations & Powders

Welcome to the first instalment of my declutter series! I haven't really seen anyone doing this kind of thing in a blog post before, but declutters are my favourite YouTube videos to watch and this is exactly the kind of content I'd be excited to see, so it's what I've decided to make and I hope you like it too!

Declutter: Primers, Foundations & Powders

Trash Talk: Makeup & Skincare

Forgive me being so crap at empties posts. I feel like they're a really good source of information and I love seeing other people's mini reviews on products they've obviously had plenty of experience using, but for me there's often quite a gap between taking my photos and throwing the rubbish out vs actually posting about it. And if I have to take photos of another lot of empties (which I did before I moved house to avoid packing up literal garbage) then in this case they're going to get combined, and the less interesting stuff gets cut because nobody wants a post that's 6,000 words long.

Trash Talk: Makeup & Skincare

On Blogging & Consumerism

I'd like to preface this by saying most people probably wouldn't look at the amount of stuff I own and call me a minimalist, but over the last couple of years I'd like to think I've become a lot more careful with my purchases and that I'm heading in that direction more and more. I now feel a lot happier letting go of things that I know someone else will enjoy more than me. This goes across both my beauty stash as well as clothes and most things that I used to buy a lot of. I'm really not trying to be preachy in this post and I hope it doesn't read that way, but I just want to share my experience and some of my thoughts in case it resonates with any of you.

On Blogging & Consumerism

New In: US Haul

Hi friends, as I mentioned in my last post I've been MIA because I was overseas in the States for a few weeks. I had an incredible time and am really looking forward to putting together some travel content when I've got a bit of time, but for now I have a lil post about everything beauty related that I picked up on my trip. While I think I was pretty well behaved, I did still pick up a few things here and there. Aside from the fact that my boyfriend and I are trying to be pretty conservative with our money in the lead up to our move to Toronto, it also didn't make sense for me to buy a whole bunch of stuff I would just have to pack up and bring with me. But I couldn't go to the US and not try anything new, so I made a few "necessary" purchases online before we left and got them delivered to our hotel in San Francisco so they would be there when we arrived. That way I didn't have to bring things like cleansers and shampoo & conditioner with me and I got to try a few new things. I was pretty pleased with myself when I came up with that idea.

New In: US Haul
Jessica Bialkowskilifestyle

In My Secret Life

At the risk of sounding like Debbie Downer, life sure is challenging at the moment. I'm very, very grateful for the fact that part of what's on my plate is planning an overseas holiday which my boyfriend and I leave for at the end of this week, but outside of that things haven't been great. I have never planned my own holiday with so little build up time before, and I feel like life doesn't often just hand you these wonderful things without putting you through some difficult shit first, so that's just where I'm at right now. But there's just a few more days to go and then it's holiday time!

Jessica Bialkowskilifestyle
In My Secret Life

I'm Moving to Toronto!

That's right, my boyfriend and I are moving to the home of baby angel Drake so we can run through the 6 with our woes! Actually, believe it not, Drake isn't the only reason we're going. But when it came down to it, the main reason for us was pretty simple - why not? I've always wanted to live overseas but it seemed like such a far off, unattainable thing. But really all you have to do is decide you want to do it and then suddenly it becomes a possibility. Of course there's a lot of work that follows, but step one is changing your mindset because it's definitely not going to happen until you do that.

I'm Moving to Toronto!
Jessica Bialkowskibeauty

New Arrivals

I rarely buy myself beauty products these days, but I was very lucky to be spoiled around Christmas time so I thought I'd share my (very exciting) new things with you guys and my thoughts on the ones I've tried so far.

Jessica Bialkowskibeauty
New Arrivals
Jessica Bialkowskitravel

5 Tips for Travelling Alone

I thought I'd do something a little different today and it comes in the form of my tips for travelling on your own. A lot of people don't like the idea of travelling solo, they think they'll get lonely or worry about not having anyone they can rely on if something goes wrong in a foreign city. While I love travelling with family or friends, travelling alone is definitely a different experience, especially if you do it for weeks or months at a time. I learned so much from it and can’t recommend it enough, especially if you’re nervous to do it, because it’ll teach you a lot about yourself and will probably improve your confidence too.

Jessica Bialkowskitravel
5 Tips for Travelling Alone
Jessica Bialkowskilifestyle

In My Secret Life

There have been some ups and downs recently, but one of the biggest ups has been going to Melbourne for a girls' weekend in November. Tahlia and I went to visit Elly and Tenneil (who live together) and we had a great time eating and shopping and staying up til the early hours of the morning with Elly giving a dramatic reading of her pre-teen diary about all the boys she had crushes on. Tahlia, Elly & I relived our glory days by driving around listing to pop punk and Tenneil and I did our makeup together in the mornings like an IRL Get Ready With Me. I shot a roll of 35mm film so whenever I get that developed I might post some photos, but rest assured that even without visual evidence, I had a great time.


Jessica Bialkowskilifestyle
In My Secret Life
Jessica Bialkowskibeauty

The Best Blood Reds

I've mentioned before that blood reds are my favourite shades to wear, and particularly if they're matte. I remember a few years ago hunting high and low for the perfect shade and not being able to find anything right. Luckily these days when brands launch new lip products, most of the time a deep red is in the mix. As someone who is more or less a connoisseur of red lipstick, trust me when I say that although to the untrained eye these might look like they're all the same, they're actually very different.

Jessica Bialkowskibeauty
The Best Blood Reds

My Favourite Candle Brands

I'm not sure why candles are such a thing in the beauty community, but there is something so enjoyable about a good home fragrance, and it's even better when they double as beautiful decorations too. There are a lot of brands out there and it can be hard to know what to buy when you don't want to sacrifice an arm and a leg, or your soul (I'm looking at you, Tom Ford). It's also pretty disappointing when you buy a nice candle only to find that you can hardly smell it when it burns, which in my experience often happens with the cheaper options. I've tried a few duds before, so I wanted to put together my favourite brands that I feel comfortable recommending and that I've never been let down by.

My Favourite Candle Brands
Jessica Bialkowskibeauty

Trash Talk: Skincare

For reasons I will hopefully talk about eventually, I have been on a serious kick of trying to finish up everything I own and have essentially stopped buying new things as well while I try to get through my drawer of backups. So that means I've got a tonne of empties for you. I'm also trying to run through my makeup and work out what's not essential. I don't know if I'm going to do something like a declutter post - lord knows I love a good declutter video on YT but I'm sure sure how well it would translate to a blog post? But anyway I'll have my makeup, hair & bodycare empties in another post because these get too long really quickly. 

Jessica Bialkowskibeauty
Trash Talk: Skincare

In My Secret Life

In a way this is more of a favourites post, but since I'm covering a few different areas I suppose it's a life update too because it's what I've been enjoying lately. Most of my favourites have actually been birthday gifts since October is my birthday month. I've never really done the whole "what I got for my birthday" thing but that's what a lot of this post is. Once I started my mid-twenties I lost all my excitement about my birthday and now I dread it every year, but receiving some lovely, thoughtful presents definitely helps soften the blow.

In My Secret Life
Jessica Bialkowskibeauty

Haul & Reviews (UK & USA)

I'm super lucky to have friends and family who humour me and don't mind picking up a few beauty bits and pieces while they're overseas. In August my family travelled around Europe and one of my best friends spent the month in New York, so I thought rather than ask them to run around picking up things for me when they should be enjoying their holiday, I ordered what I wanted online and had it delivered to them or to a shop near them so they could pick it up for me. Because money is tight these days I think I was pretty conservative with what I bought since just stuck to things that were hard to get my hands on at home, and I've had them all for long enough now that I can give you my thoughts on most of it as well.

Jessica Bialkowskibeauty
Haul & Reviews (UK & USA)

In My Secret Life #5

Life has been a bit of a rollercoaster lately, but I'm trying to focus on all the good things instead of the bad ones. When things aren't so uncertain I'll probably be less vague, but for now it's too early to say much. The biggest positive in life lately is that, as I mentioned in my last update-type post, I moved out of home for the first time a few months ago and now I live with one of my best friends and my boyfriend and it's just the best. Also it's finally Spring and the warm weather makes all the difference to my mindset and my experience of everyday life. Sunny days make the world feel like it's full of possibilities! Anyway, I thought I'd make this post a bit of a round up of all my current favourite things, so here goes.

In My Secret Life #5