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.
Another really nice thing to happen recently was my boyfriend and I celebrated our first anniversary. Because it's right in between my birthday and his, followed very quickly by Christmas, we decided to skip presents and take each other out for a special dinner. We're not especially into ~fine dining but we'd heard about a place called Yellow that has both a vegetarian and a vegan degustation menu. We're both vegetarian and because that's not always catered for we wanted to support a restaurant that's making an effort to be inclusive. We would have chosen the vegan menu except that the vegetarian menu had a pumpkin dessert (which was incredible!) so I really couldn't say no to that. If you're vegetarian or vegan and have a special occasion to celebrate in Sydney I couldn't recommend Yellow enough - the staff were very attentive, the food was excellent and they even had a non-alcoholic drink pairing for people like me who don't drink, which was another thing I really appreciated and enjoyed.
Now onto the bad news. In my last IMSL post I gushed about how much I love Leonard Cohen and how excited I was that he had a new album out. If you haven't heard, within a few weeks of its release he had passed away. It wasn't entirely unexpected as he was 82 years old, but it was devastating nonetheless. He and Nick Cave are my two favourite musicians in the world - if you didn't know, the name of this blog comes from a Nick Cave song, but the title of these posts, In My Secret Life, is a Leonard Cohen song. In fact, before I was Little Henry Lee I was a variation of "tea and oranges", which comes from Leonard's song Suzanne.
I had the privilege of seeing him live five times, once in 2009 and four more times in 2013. He was the most generous performer, playing three hour sets with three encores and skipping on and off stage in between. I had second row tickets to the Sydney Opera House show and to this day it's one of the most special and memorable shows I've ever witnessed. In 2013 I was working in the music industry and the people I worked with were fantastic enough to ask him to sign my copy of the Book of Longing, which is easily one of my most cherished items in the world. His music has seen me through so many highs and lows since 2007 when my Dad first sat me down and played Suzanne and Chelsea Hotel #2 for me. I'd heard his songs around the house since I was a kid, but it wasn't until that day that I really fell for him. When I was in New York in 2014 I went to the Chelsea Hotel to see the plaque that was put there for him. He and his music are such a huge part of my life and his passing has really felt like a great personal loss to me. Even now writing this after all the shock has worn off I'm crying thinking about him and what he means to me. So again, I'm going to link to the incredible New Yorker profile that came out shortly before his last album. If you take the time to read it it should give you some insight into why he is so adored by me, my parents and so many others around the world.
On a much lighter note, my boyfriend doesn't work in anything beauty related at all, but he happened to end up working with a brand that was exhibiting at IMATS this year and they gave him two exhibitor passes! I'd never been before so I was pretty excited and he was very patient and let me take as long as I wanted. As it turns out, IMATS itself is pretty underwhelming, but I was very grateful to get to experience it and see what all the fuss is about. I picked up a couple of little things, but the highlight is of course the Viseart Neutral Matte Palette. I don't know why I'm so into all matte palettes but I 100% am, so for me this palette is worth the money. I didn't get much of a discount on it (I paid $90), but price-wise I justified it to myself because an Urban Decay Naked Palette is $83AUD from Mecca, and this makes my lil heart flutter more than any of the 1-4 Naked Palettes do. The quality and shade range are excellent and I've been using it every day since I bought it and am so happy I picked it up.
The other special thing I (finally!!) treated myself to is the Zoeva Rose Golden Brush Set. My boyfriend's parents gave me a $100 Sephora voucher for my birthday in October and I'd been waiting for this to come back in stock online ever since, but I went into a store recently and there it was! I already use Zoeva brushes on a daily basis, and this particular set is a perfect mixture of favourites that I'm glad to have multiples of, as well as a few new ones that I'd been wanting to try. The bag they come with is excellent quality too. Aside from Real Techniques you'd be hard pressed to find anything else that's such high quality while still being reasonably priced. For the amount and variety of brushes you get I think this set is well worth the money and I really can't fault Zoeva at all.