on backing yourself / the story of how my client paid me almost twice what I charged her

Like most little girls who grew up “girly”, I’ve been a makeup artist my whole life.

It all started when I met my first red lipstick. It was the 90s, and my mum’s lipstick collection was entirely mauves and browns. So, when she brought home this bright red lipstick she got as a gift-with-purchase, it was like something off the TV or the pages of a magazine. For me, it was love at first sight.

These days, I like to believe I’ve moved beyond finger-blended eyeshadow (this was my go-to) and vibrant red lips applied like a lip smacker.

I got my qualification last year and made the shift from painting my own face to painting the faces of others. I really enjoy being a makeup artist. It’s fun and it’s creative.

And yet (there’s always an “and yet”, isn’t there?) I find myself really dreading doing it.

Leading up to my bookings, I can’t help but feel all “doom and misery” inside. I’m so nervous I’ll do a bad job that I just can’t look forward to it. Which doesn’t make any sense, does it? I love doing it and my clients are always super happy with the outcome.

To be fair, all those fears go away the moment my brush touches their face and I remember I’m actually good at this, people want me to do it! But it’s the lead up to the event that gets me. And then, of course, the awkwardness of charging for it.

Whenever my clients pay me in cash I awkwardly mumble “oh, thanks” and stuff it into a pocket. I behave as if I’m not running a business, and I’m embarrassed that they would even think to pay me.

Just last week I was hired to work on a photoshoot with a photographer I really like and a local musician who wanted some photo and video content for a project she’s working on. It was a really fun shoot – I was nervous, for sure, but the vibe of the team was great and we had a really good time together.

The makeup turned out brilliantly. I kept catching myself looking at her and admiring what I’d done – it was the cleanest contour and the crispest wing you ever did see. She even told me, several times, how happy she was with it. 

But when it came time to discuss payment, I completely clammed up.

(Word of advice for MUAs: if you are working on a shoot, talk money first – be clear if you expect to be paid for all the hours you stay behind or just for the initial makeover.)

I sent her an invoice for my standard one hour/one face rate (NZD$75 if you’re curious) even though I had been on the shoot with her from 8:30am until 4:00pm which is seven and a half hours work.

So, why did I rip myself off like that?

My client was over the moon with her makeup. was over the moon with her makeup. But I still felt like I wasn’t enough, I wasn’t professional enough or well known or whatever, and my insecurity caused me to self-sabotage.

It was actually the client who turned around and said “I would really like to pay you more as you stayed for the whole day and you did such an amazing job! Please change the invoice to $130” (which is almost double what I initially charged her).

I was lucky to have such a wonderful client who really valued my work – most people would have been happy to accept the first invoice.

And that’s why it’s so, so important to back yourself. As a freelancer, you set your wages. It’s entirely up to you to say “I’m good at this and I deserve to get paid for it.”

But this advice applies to just about anyone, in any job. Back yourself.

Once more, for the people in the cheap seats: 

back yourself text

It’s normal to feel insecure when you’re putting yourself out there. It’s totally normal to feel like you’re not good enough to do something.

Just don’t let that run your life.

Don’t let that fear stop you from doing what you want to do. I may have needed a client to smack me in the face with it, but I am good at what I do. My promise to myself from here on out is I am going to be more confident in my abilities and believe in myself more.

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 3.19.58 PM
That’s me!

So my question to you guys is, have you experienced this feeling before? What was your reminder to back yourself? Leave me a comment xx

off to the races // cheap race day looks

The Melbourne Cup is now only two weeks away and the Christchurch Trotting Cup and Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup follow swiftly behind, so the pressure is on to find the perfect outfit.

If you were organised (like me) you would have been planning/obsessing for months and would already have your outfit sorted. But if you’re still trying to figure what to wear to the races, fear not. I’ve got you covered.

Let’s break this down piece by piece.

The Headpiece

If there is one thing you can’t skip, it’s the headpiece. It’s an essential component of a race day outfit.

gold leaf headband tiara fascinator

I love this gold tiara for two reasons: it’s cute, and it’s $10. This is actually the one I have ordered for myself. You can get it here from AliExpress but be warned: shipping could be anywhere from two to four weeks. If you’re not willing to take the risk, you can get an identical one for $22 here on Showpo.

gold leaf fascinator crown

The Iconic has a huge range of fascinators and headpieces from $28 up to a couple hundred dollars – click here for price: low to high and happy hunting. Shipping is super quick, and some of them are really cool like this funky Monroe Headpiece. I mean, yeah, it’s a little different... but I can’t stop myself from loving it.

marilyn monroe headpiece fascinator morgan taylor

Other cheap places you can look are $1-$8 shops at malls (they usually have a pretty good selection!) and places like Lovisa.

The Dress

I’ve been having this never-ending battle with my BFF where she sends me links to completely inappropriate dresses she’s seen online and I have to gently, lovingly tell her no.

The races is a daytime event, so the dress code sits closer to a garden party than an evening out.

Translation: this is the only time, ever, that an LBD is inappropriate. 

Of course, fashion is up to interpretation but if you can, stay away from black and keep your lengths knees and below.


Jumpsuits are always an option – like this gorgeous one from Boohoo. It’s $45 but they always have sales.


This one is a little steeper at $80 but it’s pretty reasonable if you get in while the 50% off sale is on. This would look super cute with a gold tiara.


Of course, you can’t go wrong with rummage rack finds like this off the shoulder number from Pagani. Online it says only size 16 is available but if there’s a Pagani near you, go have a dig through the sale rack. It’s $25 – hard to beat.

The Shoes

Possibly the most frustrating part of putting together a race day outfit is finding the right shoes. You don’t want to be too matchy-matchy but you also want them to make sense with the outfits.

A simple rule to follow: match your shoes to your headpiece – unless your headpiece is the same colour as your dress, then match them to your handbag.


If your outfit is light but not white, these shoes from The Iconic are cute – and they’re only around $50.


If you prefer a chunkier heel and have a little more money to spend, I love these Lipstik shoes from Hannahs. They’re $100 but they’re quite versatile so you’d get more than a day’s wear from them.


If you’re really stuck for shoes that go with your outfit, go black. This is also appropriate if your headpiece, dress and bag are already one colour and you’re afraid of cascading (if you’re unfamiliar with the term “cascading”, it means dressing head to toe in one colour – we all did it at primary school and we’ve all sworn never again). These shoes are only $30 from H&M so they won’t break the bank.

You can also check out Kmart, The Warehouse and Number One Shoe Warehouse for cheap options.

I hope that this helps some – if you are going to the races and your outfit is sorted, I’d love to know what you’re wearing! Leave me a comment below!


As always, this post is entirely my own opinion and everything I have written here I believe to be true. This post is not sponsored in any way.

why you should never hit on the waitress

Never hit on the waitressRecently, I had an uncomfortable situation where a man who had spoken to me briefly at the gym took a bit of a fancy to me. He clearly hadn’t realised that, as the front desk girl, I was being paid to be nice to him. I said no, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer and I had to shut him down. But it got me thinking… almost every girl who has ever worked in customer service has stories like these.

So to the dude who’s wondering if he should ask out that cute barista, this one’s for you.

The Performance Review – Nicole

I worked at a shop in an outdoor mall and one of the regular customers asked me out for “a coffee or a drink”. I politely declined as I had a boyfriend. However, after I had finished my shift (at least a few hours later) I left my store and found he was sitting outside waiting for me. I assumed he was gonna try again but instead, he approached me and asked me how he did, like for a bloody performance review on him hitting on me! He was saying things like “I’m not someone who does this often, is there anything I could change? Did I do okay? If you were single, would you have said yes?”

The Leopard Print Body Double – Jaz

I worked in a lingerie store and this guy came in saying he was buying something for his girlfriend. He looked me up and down and said “you look about the same size as her, can you try it on for me?” and he wasn’t even kidding. It was underwear (which we don’t even let people try on!) and a bra and a silky robe, all in matching leopard print. Real classy guy.

The Facebook Stalker– Priya

I used to work on the checkout at a supermarket and this guy who came in pretty regularly had been sending me messages on Facebook, but he never added me as a friend so I didn’t see them. Then when he did add me, I accepted it and immediately saw this huge list of previous messages he had sent me over a period of months telling me how pretty he thought I was when he saw me as he walked past my store. That was super fucking creepy.

Pushing Fifty – Emma

When I was twenty I worked in a book shop. This guy who was easily pushing fifty came in for a subscription and on the way out bought a newspaper from me. Then he says “how about your phone number, love? Then we can get together and I can teach you how to do things”. He was literally old enough to be my father, so gross.

The Worst Bar Patrons – Cat

I worked in a bar and I had a super creepy dude ask me to suck his thumb, part of which was missing. The worst one was when a fat Irish guy offered me five pounds to have sex with him behind a tree and tried the line “don’t worry, it won’t last long!” …this is why I don’t work as a barmaid anymore.

Not Your Good Girl – Elspeth

I work in a shoe shop and I was serving a male customer and he grabbed a shoe horn and told me to “bend over like a good girl”…

Excited To Meet You! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 – Charlotte

Okay, so when I first started working as a personal trainer, I was getting ready for my first session with a new client I hadn’t met before. Because I’d been texting him to arrange the session I knew he was a traveller and English wasn’t his first language, which is why I assumed that’s why he said how excited he was to meet me and put like, five smiley faces on each message. When I was at reception waiting for him to arrive, the receptionist told me he was really excited he had a girl trainer. I didn’t think much of it, then I get a big wave from a blonde guy and I sit down he goes “hey! This is for you!” and gives me a whole block of chocolate! I tried to push it back but he insisted and put it inside my folder. Then when we were out on the gym floor, every time I tried to put him on a machine or show him an exercise he’d try to find a way to turn what I was saying into something super hilarious so he’d have to curl over and laugh and touch my arm. Then he tried to ask me to hang out with him on the weekend so I had to cut the session short. He’d thought the session was a date! I felt so angry, he wasn’t taking me seriously as a professional – it was like he was turning my job into a joke.

Sixth Time Lucky – Georgie
There was this one guy who worked at a store near the mall I worked at, who on one particular day wandered slowly through my store to the supermarket and back about six times throughout the day, each time trying to make small talk. Back and forth, back and forth. Eventually, he plucked up the courage to actually ask for my number, to which I had to reply I was in a relationship. It was very awkward and whenever I saw him for months after that day he would immediately look away and shuffle off as fast as he could.

Here We Go Again – Holly

I work in a video game store so it brings a special breed of males at times… due to the nature of the clientele, I suppose. Awkward, and often socially inept. There was this guy who would always come in and talk to me. Eventually, he found me on Facebook and tried to add me. He messaged me a lot, so I told him I had a boyfriend and he went all “woe is me, all the good ones are taken”. Thankfully, after that, he stopped coming in. But then a year or so later I saw him at the shops and I waved and said hello, because I am a nice person, and when I got home he had added me on Facebook again and the flood of messages started all over again.

If you guys have any more funny stories feel free to pop them down in the comment section – the more the merrier!

how to tell if your man is actually a fuckboy

Ah, fuckboys. With their chinos, and their Tinder profiles, and their inability to put a label on your relationship… I tend to treat it quite simply: if it look like a duck, and it quack like a duck, it prolly a duck.

But it can be hard to tell in the beginning of a relationship if your man is a fuckboy because it’s so easy to get swept up in the romance of late night “what would you be doing if I was there” texts (eye roll).


If you think you might be dealing with a fuckboy, here’s a simple checklist of 10 signs to watch out for.

  1. The ball is always in your court and he makes you come to him. He asks you to hang out but instead of making plans he says “let me know when you’re free”, or he makes plans with you but then doesn’t follow up the day of and when you text him he acts like it’s your idea
  2. You can’t be “boyfriend and girlfriend” because he “doesn’t like labels”
  3. He’s always texting when you’re together and yet it takes him about eight years to reply to you when he’s out with his friends
  4. He never calls your relationship a “secret” but he doesn’t post online about it or do anything public and he doesn’t like it when you do either
  5. He won’t take a photo with you
  6. He doesn’t want you to meet his friends or hang out with them as a group
  7. When you’re out together and you bump into someone he knows, he doesn’t introduce you (or if he does, he doesn’t introduce you as his girlfriend)
  8. He disappears for several days at a time and won’t answer your messages and then slides back in like nothing happened and won’t acknowledge that he ignored you for, like, three whole days
  9. He doesn’t like it when you go out without him but he goes out without you pretty much every weekend
  10. He bitches about his female friends and ex-girlfriends (does “she’s crazy” sound familiar?) to discourage you from making friends with them (probably because he’s seeing them, too)

If you related to some or all of these signs, I’m sorry but your man is probably a fuckboy. It’s up to you now if you want to pursue the relationship, but personally, I have one simple rule when it comes to fuckboys and it’s don’t.

beauty blogging and transparency: a moral dilemma

As some of you may know, a recent rule change now requires Australian social media influencers to disclose in the caption if the post they are making is sponsored. New Zealand doesn’t have a rule like this – unlike America, Australia and the UK, we can pretty much post whatever we want and the transparency is at our whimsy.
I think that chances are, we will not be far behind them. But I personally believe that my readers (that’s you guys!) deserve honesty and transparency – whether it’s the law or not. For a while now, I’ve been posting the following disclaimer at the end of all my reviews:

“As always, this blog post is entirely my own opinion and I do not represent anyone or anything. Nobody paid me to write this post and everything I have written here I believe to be true. “

But aside from declaring all freebies and paid posts, there is another moral dilemma: can you trust what influencers are telling you?

The main problem with big internet stars and youtubers like NikkieTutorials and Shannon Harris (Shaaanxo) is that they’re so big, their reach is so huge, that people just can’t trust that what they’re saying is true. It’s estimated that Shannon Harris makes up to $2000 per video on youtube, and instagram users with more than 500k followers can earn more than $1200 per post. You really have no idea if they’re being honest or if they’re saying what the brand wants them to say so that they keep getting paid.
It’s a business, like any other, and we can’t expect big influencers to turn around and say “no thank you, I won’t have your $2000 as I don’t really love your product” because they have to pay their bills too. As a business owner, I’d also be pretty upset if I commissioned a sponsored post and the influencer trashed my product.

Perhaps this is why attention is being or should be turned to smaller influencers, with less followers. At just under 2000 instagram followers, my reach is so small and insignificant that no brand is going to pay me to promote their product. However, if I may toot my own horn, I do create beautifully styled images that the brand is then able to re-post onto their own channels. Because of this, I have been contacted by brands I was already posting about (because I love them) to “say thanks” with a gift of free product. There have never been any strings attached and they have never said to me: “We’ll give you these products if you post them online.”

I think that these days, most people are already aware of how monetized big social media accounts are. There’s nothing we can do about that. But as a smaller influencer, I feel that it is my duty to tell you guys what’s up and to always be honest.

Do you guys agree? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comment section.

why I quit my fitbit

When I first got my Fitbit Charge HR, I thought it was true love. It gave me a little buzz of encouragement for hitting my step goal. It reassuringly told me I was sleeping more than I thought I had been. I had a neat app that proudly displayed all my stats in a smug, I-hit-my-goal green. But after 6 months of solid use, I called it quits. It wasn’t the rewarding relationship I thought it was – it was an unhealthy one.

Not the world’s daintiest wristwatch…

Now, I have to admit, I did tell a few lies to my clients about why I stopped using my Fitbit. At first, whenever anyone asked about its absence I’d say it was charging and they’d sympathetically shake their heads at all the steps I would “miss” that day. Then I just said it was broken. Partly I didn’t want to discourage my clients from using what was, for them, a really motivating tool.

But I also felt slightly ashamed that I was a part of the statistic that had “failed” at Fitbit: this study of 800 people found that just 10% were still using their Fitbit after 12 months.

But I had my reasons for ending it; it was negatively impacting my mental and physical health.

  1. I was getting really hung up on hitting all my stats. If I met my step goal on every day except one, even if I only missed it by 100 or so steps (which, in terms of my health and fitness was inappreciable) it meant that there would be one bar that wasn’t green and it really bothered me. I felt guilty and like I’d let myself down.
  2. The sleep tracking was totally off. It would tell me I was asleep when I knew that I wasn’t. Like if I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, it just didn’t seem to register I’d been awake. It also wouldn’t pick up on me being asleep for about two hours after I’d gone to bed.
  3. I would find myself walking less or not exercising if I didn’t have my Fitbit on. I felt like if it wasn’t going towards my stats, what was the point?
  4. It was ugly and bulky and uncomfortable. It was especially uncomfortable when sleeping, and the bulkiness made it hard to get my arm through the sleeves of some of my smaller jackets. And did I mention it was ugly? I mean, it was just an eyesore.
  5. The calorie count was way off. I knew it was off, but I’d treat it as an excuse to overeat. I knew there was no way I had burned 3000 calories but I still found myself overeating and thinking it was okay because I was “under budget.”

If you love your Fitbit, power to you. I’m happy it’s working for you. I don’t miss my Fitbit and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to using it.

If you’ve been through a Fitbit-quit like me, or you’re still a devotee – I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! What made you stop using it? What do you love about it?

on starting a new job (and not having a total stress meltdown)

If you follow me on Instagram (if you don’t, you should) you’ll already know that recently I changed jobs/careers/my sleeping patterns/my entire life.

The scariest part of all of this is I haven’t been the New Girl in three years. I’m leaving behind a community of people I know, where I knew what to expect in any situation. I’m also leaving behind an entire industry and toeing the waters of something that (I’m sorry to my clients for this) interests me more than fitness ever did and is completely new and almost overwhelming to me.

But I feel prepared because I have in my arsenal the top 6 tricks (top fives are for chumps) for surviving the first couple of weeks in a new job.

1. Watch and learn.

The most important thing when you’re trying to figure out where you fit in a new environment is to watch and observe said new environment. Are people chatty with each other at their desks or do they save convo for the staff room? Are people using their phones during the work day? What kind of senses of humor do people have? This kind of stuff may seem inconsequential but you don’t want to be that new girl who started making inappropriate jokes cause it was cool at her last work.

2. No saying no.

Obviously to an extent with this one, if they start making ridiculous demands remember to set boundaries for yourself. But if your new colleague needs help with something and they ask you to do it, just do it. In my first few months at my last job, I said yes to every single shift I was offered. Even if it meant doing a 5am-9am shift and then coming back for a 5pm-9pm shift. I proved myself to be reliable and cemented myself as irreplaceable.

3. Write everything down.

When you’re learning eight hundred new things a second, you’re going to forget a lot of it. So write it down. And with your personal life, too, when you get busy it’s easy for stuff to slip your mind. So it’s not uncommon for my schedule to have stuff like “bring sneakers” or “lunch in the fridge” popping up at 7am so I remember to chuck that stuff in my bag before I leave for the day. Also, if you’re like me and suck at replying to texts when you’re busy, a little reminder in your diary saying “text Ria back” doesn’t hurt.

4. Take initiative.

I know, common sense isn’t as common as we’d like it to be. But seriously. You’re new at this job. Make yourself look like the sparkling team player you are, and help out with stuff you haven’t been asked to help out with. You see something that needs doing? Don’t wait to be asked to do it. Also, be proactive and don’t sit around at your desk waiting to be told what to do. Ask people if and how you can be useful and then just do it, even if it’s not technically part of your job description.

5. Thou shalt not talk shit about thy coworkers on Facebook.

I mean, really. Keep your drama off the net. It’s unprofesh as fuck. And not just Facebook: zip it on Instagram, twitter, even snapchat. Just don’t.

6. Stay positive.

Starting a new job is super stressful. You have to learn so much, meet so many people and remember so many names. And a job is still a job, no matter where you go. It’s still work. When I first started working, I had a string of hospo jobs lasting no longer than three months; I’d always hate it where I was and decide the grass was greener somewhere else. Then, of course, I would discover that regardless of the cafe I was still making coffee, washing dishes and serving assholes. Focus on the good stuff, like the stuff you enjoy doing, or… I don’t know, payday.

And that concludes my top 6 tips. If you guys have any of your own, I would love to hear them – help a freshly minted office girl out!