Friday, December 31, 2010

The Countdown Begins...


Can't believe I spent the last day of 2010 at work... and it was so busy too... Totally not what I expected.

I'm just about ready for some shut-eye but I'm trying to keep myself awake with food, good music and a glass of bubbly because I must-stay-up-for-the-fireworks! I do so because I'm always super excited about Australia being one of the first countries in the world to watch the clock tick over into the New Year. And who doesn't love fireworks...

What I'm most looking forward to are the exciting challenges that 2011 will bring. I'm going to make mine another year of growth, success and love on both a personal and professional level. Hope yours is a good one too and that it's everything you desire. Thanks once again for your friendship! See you next year (on the flip side)!

Love you all xx

Happy New Year's Eve

Dearest blog readers,

Can you believe it is already New Year's Eve in Australia? One last day of writing 2010 and then I will have to get over my bad habit of continuing to write the wrong date long after we have moved on.

I am off to work right now but hopefully will get home earlier today to prepare for NYE celebrations. Also looking forward to staying up late to catch the fireworks as I have done every year. I have a feeling I'll probably be asleep by 10 though... it's not usual for me to have worked the day before!

We'll see...

PS. Thanks for your continued readership and support. Sometimes I wonder if anyone out there even reads what I write and I consider shutting my blog down. Then I think of all the lovely messages I receive from people like you and I feel happy again :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

20 Candles on my Cake

My new beauty purchase: OPI - 20 Candles On My Cake

I have been looking for the perfect red polish for such a long time; one that is soft and matte in colour, but not too overpowering or blood-red. I think I finally found it this afternoon on my third shopping spree for the week, hooray!

This understated and gorgeous vintage rose-red is absolutely perfect for everyday wear on the fingers or the toes. It applies beautifully smooth and glossy and has no shimmer making it very workplace appropriate. 1-2 coats is sufficient to yield that streak-free creme finish that looks like you've had your nails done professionally. I'm so glad I bought this shade of red - it looks beautiful in the bottle but even more superb on! Can already see myself purchasing this staple colour over and over.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Back to Work

It's always hard to return to work after having a long weekend off! Especially at this time of the year with the festive season just past and New Year's around the corner. I'm almost over it all...

Luckily it wasn't too busy today. In fact it was a a nice change to the usual hustle and bustle of the workplace. It felt eerily quiet. Still, there were many things to do and I am now feeling absolutely exhausted and ready to collapse onto my bed. I only just got home from another evening at the shops, where I picked up some ruffle tops, a lock & key keyring, a card wallet and two size 1 children's t-shirts for 50% off (they were too cute to put back, save them for later...)!

I think I really need to get a grip on all this spending. It can't be very good for my bank account! But I keep telling myself that I'm actually saving money by spending it now rather than after the stocktake sales finish when the prices go back up. I tell myself that everyday...

See you back here tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

At Home with Candace Bushnell: Manhattan

As the creator of one of the most widely recognised costumes and set designs in recent film history, Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell's home is every bit just as fabulous, stylish and chic as the lives she's conjured up for her characters.

mirrored art deco table - Lauren Copen Antiques

Located in Greenwich Village in the heart of Manhattan, Bushnell shares this renovated 1920's apartment with husband Charles Askegard, a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet. Far from over the top, the interior is eclectic, youthful and showcases well her appreciation for tasteful furniture and unique colour palettes.

Let's have a peek inside...

A 19th-century Venetian chaise is dressed up with a pillow from Geminola; the palm-leaf lamp from Le Décor Français dates from the 1800s. I love the bursts of fuschia on the shelves.

Mirror from Paterae Antiques. Great way to visually open up a small room.

In the living room, Caio Fonseca’s Fifth Street Painting C04.13 overlooks a 19th-century tufted bustle chair from Bijan Royal, a vintage brass floor lamp from Retro-Modern, Moroccan poufs from John Derian Co., and an Oushak rug from ABC Carpet & Home. The couple purchased the Louis XVI sofa from writer Jay McInerney and the ivory-and-ebony box is from Amy Perlin Antiques. The vintage mirrored screen is from Neo-Studio.

A pair of gold-leafed sheaf sconces from Downtown flank the living room mantel, which is original to the apartment. The colours are great!

Decorator Susan Forristal reproduced a poster of Bushnell onto wallpaper that lines the powder room. I think this is a bit over the top... however I do like the fittings and the sink, by Smolka.

In the den, ebonized campaign chairs with white cowhide seats from Gray Gardens face a velvet upholstered sofa with a pillow made of vintage fabric from Geminola. The rug is by Madeline Weinrib from ABC Carpet & Home.

The kitchen’s wood-and-glass cabinetry and soapstone counters were designed by Rodos Interior Renovations.

The bed and the Madeline Weinrib–designed rug are both from ABC Carpet & Home, and the antique suzani is from Mughal. Dutchman’s Dawn II, a painting by Ellen Kozak, hangs above it and the midcentury table lamps are from Retro-Modern. This is such a welcoming room!

my favourite set designs from SATC 2

Click here to see more:

Thank God for Net-a-Porter sales!

Lanvin Happy large leather shoulder bag
In a timeless shape and butter-soft leather, Lanvin's exquisite black chain-handle bag is a modern classic. Pair this indulgent investment piece with everything from a caramel jumpsuit to sharply-cut workwear.
Oscar de la Renta cashmere and silk-blend cardigan
Charcoal cashmere and silk-blend cropped cardigan with sequin and bead embellishment. This cardigan has a round neck, button fastenings at front, three-quarter length sleeves and a ribbed trim.
Oscar de la Renta silk organza ruffled blouse
This grey ruffled sheer silk-organza sleeveless blouse is the perfect uptown separate. Emulate the runway by pairing this sophisticated piece with an embellished cardigan and tailored pants.
Christian Louboutin Pigalle 120 patent pumps
Reach new fashion heights in Christian Louboutin's iconic black patent leather pumps. Show them off with cropped tailored pants or a sleek LBD.
Fendi suede wrap skirt
This slinky black suede wrap skirt from Fendi is an elegant take on a workwear classic. Simply tailor it with a fitted white shirt and pretty pumps for a feminine office silhouette.

So looking forward to receiving my order for the cardigan, blouse and now sold out bag!!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Now that it's Over...

It is hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone once again.

Each year, time seems to fly by quicker and quicker. Might it be because my life is getting busier, with more things to do in the day and less time to procrastinate? Perhaps I'm a happier person now, content with where I am in the whole scheme of things - aware of my goals, proud of my achievements and just enjoying what I do.

Regardless, the build up leading to Christmas and the actual excitement of celebrating the occasion with loved ones always leaves me feeling very reflective. What were the good things that happened to me this year? What would I like to have changed? What do I want to achieve in the coming 12 months?

2010, I'm thankful to you for...
Making the transition from student to employed life so smooth and easy
Giving me the opportunity to meet so many amazing people through work.
Surrounding me with such a supportive group of colleagues
Sending me away from home for an extended period of time: testing my independence and teaching me to appreciate.
Allowing me to be in the right place at the right time to come across someone who has forever changed the way in which I act and think and be.
Good health, keeping safe, happy days, to be able to dream and have the courage to seek.

2011, I hope...
That you continue to bless me and allow me to achieve all the things in which I strive for: to do my best at work, be the best friend I can be and to continue supporting those who love me.
That I can make my little contribution to this world and give back what I have taken. I want to donate to charities, do volunteer work. I want to teach others and never stop learning.
To never forget these three words and their meanings.

Hope.......... wishing that something would happen
Faith.......... believing something will happen
Courage..... making something happen

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Urge to Splurge

Most people I know are severely hungover and recovering at half past six in the morning the day after Christmas Day.

But not me.

I am wide awake, dressed and ready to make my way into the city along with thousands of other like-minded shopaholics to try and snap up the best bargains at the annual end of year stocktake Boxing Day sales. It has become a tradition for me to join the huge crowds every year but today was the first time I went with a list of things I had been eyeing for some time. Having a good idea of what I wanted really helped as I usually overspend on useless, spur-of-the-moment items that I end up returning later on. Knowing which places to check out really helped to reduce my frustration levels, because as you can imagine, fighting Christmas crowds can be a nightmare if you're wandering around aimlessly and especially if you don't have a clue what sizes fit you best. Most shops don't allow you to try anything on to prevent lengthy delays, plus the change room queues can take forever.

The best thing about this year's sales were the great deals and savings in most stores with markdowns of up to 70% off! I was also fairly impressed with the stock on sale - in previous years I've sometimes come home with nothing I was terribly excited about due to the fact that the only things I liked were the full-priced clothes. This year I didn't waste any time in stores that always seem to put the same junk on their bargain tables every year and this meant that I had more time to comb over the racks and snap up bargains.

As always, some of the more prestigious stores had massive queues needing to be monitored by security. I normally give these a miss because it's a waste of time but this year I decided to test my patience and lined up behind the security ropes. I waited... and waited... and swear it was nearly 40 minutes before I inched my way like a baby caterpillar up to the entrance of the shop. Once people started clearing out, with my ticket in hand, I was finally given the go ahead by the security guard to enter. According to the sign, we had only 15 minutes each to purchase our items. A quick look around told me there was no way that was happening! It was so crowded in there with rude people pushing, shoving and yelling at the top of their voices. There is something about Boxing Day sales that seem to bring out the worst in human nature. It didn't help that there weren't enough sales assistants to serve everyone, given that all the objects (jewellery) were locked behind glass cabinets.

I, however, am ecstatic with my purchases. Must be just me, but I love the feeling of buying things that are not only perfect in size but also the last ones in stock! Heaps of customers, after seeing what I had purchased, also wanted the exact same items only to be told I had just snapped up the last of the ones available. I was in there for probably 20 minutes before being served but it only took 5 minutes for the saleslady to bring me my goods and then I was out of the store. It really helps to know exactly what you want!

So without further ado, here's a little sneak peak of the goodies that came home with me today!

Karen Walker ruffle skirt and silk trim cardigan

Alannah Hill skirt and cardigan

Max & Co. shorts

Cue ruffle cardigan in Wine

These are only some of the things I bought today. I haven't had much time to take photos of the others but they include a set of glass tumblers, Royal Dalton crystal champagne flutes, a new pro salon hairdryer, skincare products, two fragrances I've been lusting over (Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel and Miss Dior Cherie EDP by Christian Dior). Also bought a few pieces of expensive jewellery which came to less than one-fifth of the original price in total thanks to the sales!

All in all, I am very glad that I ventured out today to brave the stocktake crowds. All the goodies that came home with me were all things that I would've ended up buying anyway, except I now have them for less money spent :) So, my tips for a good Boxing Day experience:

1. Wear comfy shoes that don't cause blisters, thereby allowing you to weave quickly through the crowds

2. If you're super organised and already have a list of things you want, find out whether the store/brand will be going on sale and how much of a discount you are likely to get. If you haven't got a list, make sure you compile one! Will make it so much easier on the day.

3. Have a rough plan of where you want to go first - it's all about prioritising! If you get this right, you will more than likely get your hands on what you're after.

4. Work out how you will pay of your items... and ensure plenty of $$$ in the bank beforehand!

5. Bring a nice roomy bag that will fit small items that you purchase (jewellery, bits and pieces) - this leaves your arms free to browse the racks!

6. Try to be courteous to your sales assistants. I imagine they have the toughest jobs on days like this, trying to keep the stores under control and ensuring their customers leave happy. Tell them if you think they're doing a wonderful job. Say thanks.

7. In the frenzy of it all, sometimes it is easy to forget that everyone is there to shop. Don't let rude people ruin your day. You will come across plenty of them, so mentally prepare yourself for this and count your blessings if you get through the day without being pushed out of the way or having things snatched off your hand.

8. If you have the day off, fantastic; otherwise try and arrange for some time off to shop properly. One year I rushed like crazy and ended up with a handful of things that were heavily discounted but of completely no use to me. Extra time means you can actually browse around for a bit - you may even find that extra special something to take home!

9. A personal preference for me is to shop alone. I find going in groups very difficult and even having a shopping buddy makes it hard to really buy things that you like. Unless it's your absolute bestie who doesn't mind waiting half an hour for you to try things on and wants to look at the same things as you. I usually feel too guilty when I go with friends and end up not really looking at things properly. Also, if you can put your man out of misery, send him out with his mates rather than drag him along with you to the sales. I felt so sorry for all the men at the shops today, minding baby prams, waiting in chairs and even sitting on the mannequin stands in the department store... all of them LOOKING SO BORED!

10. Know your sizes. Like I said before, most shops won't allow you to try anything on if things are heavily discounted or the size of the queue will make you change your mind anyway.

Finally, a good Boxing Day experience always begins and ends with purchases that you love. So if you've really worked hard all year, time to reward yourself accordingly. Don't waste money or time on things that don't make your heart skip beats but at the same time, don't put something back if you know you'll go home and think about it non-stop. Regret is the worst feeling ever!!

So if you had a Boxing Day experience, I hope it was lovely and look forward to hearing about your splurges!

Boxing Day sales

Just got home from the Boxing Day sales!! Man my legs are so sore! Very glad I wore comfy shoes today having spent the whole of 8 hours on my feet. Crowds were huge... Queues everywhere... Pushing and shoving... But well worth it because I managed to find myself some absolute steals!! I'm going to grab something to eat and then I'll be back to do a reveal post on the things I picked up!

Anyone else hit the stores today?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

One Wish

Merry Christmas folks!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Eve Before Christmas

My dear friends,
Can you believe it? It is officially Christmas Eve here in Australia! Ohhh the excitement of it all!!!

I've been super busy with last minute preparations and when I get off work this afternoon I will have to begin cooking up my massive feast for family who are coming over tonight. Did any of you stay out late yesterday at the shops? I didn't get home until half past 9 and that was because the Christmas crowds were huge!! I truly love this time of the year, with all the decorations, gift exchanging and happiness in the air. I'm on my way to work right now, so I wish you and your families a safe Christmas and hope you enjoy whatever celebrations you have planned! May you get everything you want... and more! :)

Best wishes,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Miss You Most (at Christmas time)

The fire is burning
The room's all aglow
Outside the December wind blows
Away in the distance the carolers sing in the snow
Everybody's laughing
The world is celebrating
And everyone's so happy
Except for me tonight

Because I miss you
Most at Christmas time
And I can't get you
Get you off my mind
Every other season comes along
And I'm all right
But then I miss you, most at Christmas time

I gaze out the window
This cold winter's night
At all of the twinkling lights
Alone in the darkness
Remembering when you were mine
Everybody's smiling
The whole world is rejoicing
And everyone's embracing
Except for you and I

Baby I miss you
Most at Christmas time
And I can't get you
Get you off my mind
Every other season comes along
And I'm all right
But then I miss you, most at Christmas time

In the springtime those memories start to fade
With the April rain
Through the summer days
Till autumn's leaves are gone
I get by without you
Till the snow begins to fall

And then I miss you
Most at Christmas time
And I can't get you
Get you off my mind
Every other season comes along
And I'm all right...
But then I miss you, most at Christmas time


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Where the Loveliest Things Are

... usually in the most random of places and times, wouldn't you agree?

I've had an amazing day. I don't even know where to begin.

Going to work this morning, something inside me suddenly clicked and I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I'd finally moved on and for the rest of the morning there was no more worrying and stressing over the uncertainties of everything. Then would you believe it, come lunch time, I am pleasantly surprised by this one thing I had written off and completely lost hope in. For it to come so out of the blue made me feel incredibly happy and relieved. My gut instinct had been right. Being patient had paid off! After work, I went back to pick up the ring that I purchased the other day as I needed a smaller size to stop the ring from spinning on my finger (I hate that). Then, fate would have it and somehow I end up running into the people that I had been wanting to meet. I look forward to seeing how things progress from here on in. What surprises will the future hold?

[this is a journal entry for 21/12/10.]
- the day where so many things happened, each one so deeply meaningful to me.
the day I learnt that even the most beautiful unexpected dreams can come true.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Best Things in Life

falling asleep to a thunderstorm, cosying underneath the covers listening to the pitter patter of rain fall against the windows

when someone notices your haircut

opening the first pages of a book or magazine and breathing in that new-book smell

when you catch someone looking at you with a glance that makes the world pause and takes away all the breath that's left in you

when a stranger smiles at you or holds the door open for you

browsing through digital photos from months or even years ago and finding a real gem that makes you smile just thinking back to that wonderful moment

finding out the name or artist of the song you heard on radio ages ago and loved

sipping caramelatte whilst people-watching from a cosy spot inside a trendy cafe-restaurant

finding, trying on and purchasing buttery soft leather shoes that fit like a glove and walk like you're barefoot

watching Disney classics in your pyjamas

public holidays that fall on a Saturday or Sunday - who doesn't love long weekends?

when someone stops you in the middle of the street to tell you how lovely you smell

pulling out the tray and rejoicing because those macarons have feet! Yessss!

making a purchase, whether big or small, and having the salesperson walk around the counter to hand you your goods

the moment you wake up and realise it's not Friday but Saturday morning. . .

when a (gentle)-man offers you his seat on the bus

feeling pretty & being told you are

having the whole row of seats to yourself at the cinemas

being at home when the postie visits to drop off one (or several) parcels

running your fingers over perfume bottles in the morning as you decide which scent to apply

pretty handwriting

coming home to familiar, loving faces

having a good dream, and remembering it

the first mangos of summer