Good Morning

July 26, 2011 at 8:46 am (Sweet Nothings/Ramblings)

It’s been almost six months since I left the corporate world to work for myself at home and it has taken this long to figure out what works best for me in terms of a morning routine. I love to be organised but am hopeless at sticking to a rigid schedule in which I have 42 minutes to complete this and then it’s onto the next thing. That’s just not how I operate.

I do have a few things that I try to incorporate into every weekday morning which help me with my productivity or energy levels or just my sanity.

  • Waking up at the same time every day (where possible)
  • Drinking a cup of green tea
  • Exercising
  • Reading with a coffee
  • Finding some sunshine
  • Writing a to do list
  • Messaging/talking to a friend

On weekends I like to wake up after (hopefully) 8 hours sleep, go to a quiet cafe and (try to) order something nutritious (and a coffee). If I’m lucky, I get a lift out magazine from the paper (Sunday Life is my favourite).

I love going out for breakfast on the weekend. Everyone has that lazy morning vibe and is calmer, more content. They slowly sip away at their hot drinks rather than grabbing them to takeaway in a hurry and smile at screaming children rather than sighing and muttering under their breath. Breakfast on the weekends, in my opinion, is to be savoured and enjoyed.

How do you like to start your mornings?

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A Week o’ Love

July 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm (Cyberspace Gems, Sweet Nothings/Ramblings)

It’s Sunday again! I have had a fairly laid back weekend which has been great (they’re rare these days). Here’s the Week o’ Love post with a few things that I have loved doing, seeing, reading and lusting after in the last little while. Let me know what you’ve been loving – comment below!

LIFE

Credit card elimination. The day finally came on Thursday. It was at ZERO! A more joyous day than my birthday and Christmas combined.

Hitting the 10kg milestone. I can’t believe I used to carry that much extra weight. Feels absolutely amazing.

Finding THE perfect Parisian apartment. See Places.

Little extras: Making hundreds of lists and ticking things off, helping friends and posting them “just because” gifts, reading in the sun, dancing to the Beatles, dry shampoo, Max Brenner hot chocolates, romantic dinners, cabaret festival shows, fudge (need I say more) and new clients.

PLACE

This Parisian Apartment. I was barely able to sleep after I found this apartment in Paris’ St Germain. T asked me not to get my hopes up, it might not be available (despite me enquiring 11 months in advance). But it is! We are planning our “last hurrah” trip (before we start knuckling down and saving like adults for apartments of our own and “rainy days”) for next year. We’ll be travelling around Northern Europe, returning to Paris for its music festival Fête de la Musique and Bastille Day, using the apartment as a home away from home over the 7 weeks. It’s described as an artist’s loft and I am officially in love.

CYBERSPACE GEMS (mostly about food)

What Katie Ate serves up some amazing birthday recipes. I am drooling over the Chocolate Truffle Tarts.

Jess from The Belle Lumiere reviews one of her Holy Grail beauty products, Ultraceuticals Even Skintone Serum.

Over at The Happiness Cocktail (one of my fave blogs ever), Yaz has given us the recipe for a seriously tasty chia seed parfait.

10 Ways To Find That Grown Up Feeling is a guest post by Ashe over at Yes and Yes.

Carly shares her chicken and lentil stew secrets at Smaggle.

On The Freedom Experiment, Marthe is talking about over-estimating your obstacles and under-estimating you.

Merowyn adds a delish berry smoothie to Blithely Unaware (and love her crazy drawings).

Life is about creating yourself – Sandi reminds us over at In The Thick Of It.

STYLE AND BEAUTY

An all Australian cast today in Style and Beauty. Clockwise from left:

♥  Autumn Leaves earrings by birdofplay (on madeit.com.au)

♥  A’kin Pure Radiance Rosehip Oil

♥  Love Bird print by Billy and Scarlet (on madeit.com.au)

♥  Miss Orchid dress by Sydney-based label Khamoda

What have you been loving recently?

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Motivate Me!

July 22, 2011 at 7:49 am (Health)

I have grown to love exercise. In the ‘drag me kicking and screaming to the gym but after the workout I feel fabulous’ kind of way. We all wish that there was some quick fix for having to get sweaty and exhausted, but unfortunately it is still proven time and time again to be one of the best ways to keep fit, healthy and happy.

Okay, so we know we have to do it, but is there a way to motivate ourselves to peel off the couch or roll out of bed at some ungodly hour to slave away at the gym? Here are some of the tricks I use:

  • Write it into your schedule. You must make time for it and make it at a time that suits you. If you are not a morning person then why schedule it for 5am when you know that 8 times out of 10 you won’t make it past the snooze button? Factor it into your schedule and make it convenient.
  • Look incredible – kit yourself out. Buy yourself a new workout outfit, one that is bright and flattering. Looking great helps us feel more confident which in turn helps us push ourselves more in our workouts.
  • Try 10 minutes. If you’re feeling lethargic and unmotivated, simply force yourself to exercise for 10 minutes. Just 10 minutes. Come on, anyone can do some exercise for 10 minutes. Once you’ve started, you’ll usually find that you can get through an entire workout (but don’t beat yourself up if you have one of those days where the 10 minutes is all you can manage).
  • A little help from my friends. Enlist the help of a friend to help motivate you. You’re always more likely to do something when someone is holding you accountable. They don’t need to necessarily train with you, just check in with each other to make sure that the other person is on track.
  • Challenge yourself in your workouts. I am competitive and stubborn as a mule, so when I have decided I am going to do something I bloody well do it, dying or not. Tell yourself that you can finish if you just get through the next 100m, once you hit that see if you can go just another 10 seconds and so on. It really is a case of mind over matter sometimes. When you smash your own challenges, you walk away feeling pretty good about yourself with your head held high. In turn, you’re more likely to come back tomorrow to see what you can achieve then.

How do you force yourself to get through a workout session?

Do you workout at all or have other priorities?

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T & T: Origins, Clinique and NARS

July 20, 2011 at 4:33 pm (Beauty) (, , , )

It has been a little while since I have done a T & T (Tried and Tested) post, so my apologies for those of you who have been hanging out for more beauty. These posts feature products that I have bought or been given as gifts, with no correspondence with the company. This ensures that I can express my opinions honestly rather than posting elaborate sales pitches to you all. Here are a few products I’ve fallen for recently:

Origins Plantscription Serum

($97 from Mecca Cosmetica)

What is it? A plant extract based anti-aging serum.

Things that make you go mmmm!

  • The light and smooth consistency. Some serums tend to take a little while to sink into the face and become sticky before they are absorbed, but not this baby. It glides on so easily and doesn’t leave any sticky residue.
  • The smell. There is something about natural skincare that smells so refreshing.
  • The brand itself is very environmentally conscious. As well as using natural and/or organic ingredients in their products, they also use recycled materials and green sources of energy at their manufacturing facilities and continue to donate funds to support environmental projects. Bonus.

Things that make you go hmmm..

  • You probably choked over the price of this stuff (c’mon, you did didn’t you? You can tell me…) but in reality serums do cost more than their moisturiser counterparts. They are more concentrated and you need a lot less product per use to get the job done.

Verdict:   My skin is definitely glowing and has a plumpness to it, particularly when I wake up after it’s been working its magic all night. Although I can’t say that it works any anti-aging miracles as I am only 25, it definitely makes my skin smoother and dewy.

Clinique Redness Solutions Makeup

($50 from Mecca Cosmetica)

What is it? A foundation designed to correct red skin tones with SPF 15.

Things that make you go mmmm!

  • It does what it says it will do. I can’t begin to tell you how frustrated I get with foundations that promise good coverage and don’t deliver. I have mild rosacea (redness) on my face and therefore need a foundation that will neutralise the redness. Tada! This one is it.
  • Doesn’t dry out combination skin. I tend to moisturise and prime before foundation anyway, but this formula doesn’t seem to dry out the skin as others do.

Things that make you go hmmm..

  • It seems like a small bottle, but it seriously goes a long way. You only need a couple of pearl-sized pools of the product to cover your whole face and neck.

Verdict: I am just relieved to find a foundation which gives good coverage over red skin tones and doesn’t require 4 coats to do so. I can wear very little foundation and still feel confident.

NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Carthage

3rd pic (please excuse the just-washed hair): I’m wearing Clinique Redness Solutions Makeup in Calming Alabaster, NARS powder blush in Orgasm, Benefit Brows a Go Go Kit, MAC Fluidline gel eyeliner in Macroviolet, Benefit BADgal Lash mascara in Black and NARS Matte Lipstick in Carthage.

($54 from Mecca Cosmetica)

What is it? A bright pink matte finish lipstick.

Things that make you go mmmm!

  • The colour. I tried for about 20 minutes to get a good shot of my wearing the colour, but the photos don’t do it justice. It is much brighter in real life. Luckily Temptalia got some great swatches (including the one above in the middle).
  • It’s long lasting. So much so that it almost stains the lips a little (some cleansing oil takes it right off though).

Things that make you go hmmm..

  • If you’re used to using a moisturising lipstick like me, then a matte one will feel strangely drying. I apply a hydrating lip balm before the lipstick to ensure that it goes on smoothly and doesn’t feel dry and flaky after a few hours.
  • It is fairly pricey for a lippie.

Verdict: To be honest, I am head over heels in love with this colour. It automatically adds some spring in my step when I apply it in the morning. The money is worth it if it puts a smile on your face.

What products have you tried and tested that you’ve fallen in love with?

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Unplug

July 18, 2011 at 7:16 pm (Health, Sweet Nothings/Ramblings) (, )

I don’t know about you, but my life seems to rely on online connectivity more and more. Or I seem to think that it does. Sometimes being “connected” in the way of social media and constant email messages starts to stress me out a little. There’s too much information being thrown my way and it seems to sap so much of my time and energy trying to wade through it.

But how do we gain back some control over our “real lives” while staying involved in our online ones?

Here’s what I’ll be trialling over the next few weeks:

  • Don’t check social media/email first thing in the morning. I always wake up, roll over and immediately check my email. I’m barely awake, yet already need my fix of connectedness. Now I am going to wait until I have gotten up and done something else first – make a cup of tea, have a shower, have breakfast. Something. Anything.
  • Schedule specific sites into your daily routine. I find it hard to stay on top of my Google Reader. I follow (too) many blogs, but I’d hate to miss out on a really fabulous post by skipping it altogether. Now I’ll schedule blog reading and commenting time into my day to start getting on top of the backlog without anxiety. Set a timer to ensure that you don’t lose hours of your day to hilarious animal videos on YouTube.
  • Block time waster website from yourself for a few hours a day. LeechBlock can do this for you if you find exercising self-control difficult (pfft, who doesn’t?). Having a program block certain websites between times you have specified will allow you to get on with being productive.
  • Turn off the computer 30 minutes before bed. I am horribly guilty of watching a DVD in bed with my boyfriend and checking Twitter/Facebook/email all the way through. Terrible I know. In order to let yourself relax, unplug yourself from the Internet half an hour before bed time (and ideally, the television and computer too). Use this time to unwind or prepare yourself for the day ahead.

Do you worry about how much time you spend online?
How do you force yourself to unplug?

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Mix It Up

July 14, 2011 at 6:10 pm (Mix It Up)

Happy Thursday readers! Shake up your regular routine by doing something a little different this week. Suggestions (as always) below, but I’d love to hear any of your own additions!

Take the time to write someone a love letter or enjoy a hot cup of herbal tea.

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Go op-shopping and pick up a funky pair of retro frames or spend a few leisurely hours flicking through old photos and reminisce over beautiful memories.

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Dip your glass in hundreds and thousands and feel like a kid again or tell someone they look beautiful and spread the compliment love!

How do you like to mix up your routine?

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That “Blah” Feeling

July 13, 2011 at 1:23 pm (Sweet Nothings/Ramblings)

Yesterday I had one of those days. I just felt… off. I didn’t have my usual dose of positivity or much energy for that matter. How did I manage to wake up in such a funk?

When you find yourself in one of these “blah” moods, it’s so easy to crawl back into bed, watch back to back episodes of your favourite show and hide from the world until it passes. But who wants to waste an entire day in a ‘zombie-with-a-hangover’ state? Not me.

So I did the following:

  • Went for a walk in the fresh air
  • Ordered a coffee (and smiled at a small child)
  • Read a book (about happiness in fact)

And yes, I felt mildly better (my status had perhaps upgraded to a dehydrated zombie). Then I remembered the last thing I had done to get a sudden rush of glee. I had cleaned out our junk cupboard.

Wow Kim, you’re thinking, how exciting. I know, it’s not the most thrilling way to get out of a funk, but it works. Achieve something. Preferably something you’ve been putting off doing for a while. I find that physical clutter can bog me down just as much as mental clutter, so clearing it away has the same effect.

So I cleaned my desk, throwing away anything I didn’t need. I took photos of garments to put on eBay to further clean out my closet. I deleted a dozen draft emails that were sitting there with reminder links and articles that I could easily have saved onto my desktop or adding to my bookmarks but had been too lazy to. I sorted out my tax receipts and did a load of washing.

And I felt better. I had achieved something in my day and not given in to that “blah” feeling (nor had I eaten a pizza while watching Pretty Little Liars which is what my inner zombie had been craving).

How do you turn a “blah” day around?

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Inspiration Station: Pomme Chan

July 12, 2011 at 11:51 am (Inspiration Station) (, )

I recently stumbled across the intricate drawings and typography graphics of Pomme Chan, a Bangkok-born illustrator and designer, currently living in London. I thought they’d add a burst of energy and colour to your Tuesday. Enjoy!

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STYLE SNAPSHOT: Colour Injection

July 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm (Style Snapshot)

We Melburnians aren’t known for our use of colour in our stylish outfits, particularly in Winter. Black and grey are the typical uniform, which looks great but becomes boring very quickly. I have vowed to add a little more bright, unashamedly bold colour into my wardrobe. Hopefully you’ll follow my lead and experiment with yellows, reds, purples and pinks!

The Inspiration

Lily Donaldson (pic from Fashionising.com), style blogger Jentine from my edit

Lust-Worthy Pieces

Clockwise from top left: Josh Goot Insert Flare Skirt, Ginger & Smart Heartbeat Draped Dress, Willow Hybrid Twist Tulle Drape Twist Skirt and Dion Lee Rope Jacquard Bell Skirt.

Also, could I ask you (very nicely with many pleases and cherries on top) to provide your feedback on my blog through these two quick polls? I’d love to know what you enjoying reading and seeing here so that I can give you more of what inspires you!

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A Week o’ Love

July 1, 2011 at 6:23 pm (Cyberspace Gems, Things I Love)

Welcome to another Friday – here’s another cocktail of things, places, blog posts, style and beauty products that I’ve been lusting over or inspired by recently. TGIF!

LIFE

Amazing Face. Zoe Foster’s latest foray into the writing world is this freakin’ incredible beauty book. I devoured it within a few hours of purchasing it and now have a list of ‘to buy’ products as long as my arm, but it has reinvigorated my love of skincare and cosmetics.

Fishtail braids. I have become obsessed with messy fishtail braids (see top right). Something a little different to the common plait.

Date nights. T and I have been getting out a bit more recently and enjoying the Melbourne nightlife: cabaret performances, the circus, fancy dinner dates and the movies. It’s worth spending a little money on quality time.  : )

Little extras: Bircher muesli, my tweet on happiness being published in the latest issue of Madison mag, using hurt for good (song writing in my case), getting back into my healthy eating groove, party planning, days with sunshine and a temperature over 15 degrees celsius, long Skype chats with my parents, researching our next European adventure and fun new students.

PLACES

Cafe Gaia. This cafe is always packed when I arrive and I can see why. The coffee is good and this apple + rhubarb crumble is frickin’ incredible (sorry for the blurry iPhone pic).

San Churro Chocolateria. T and I went out to the circus and I decided we needed something sweet and warm. Enter San Churro Light Hot Choc. Mmmmm… Delicious (not so nutritious). The churros themselves are also fantastic.

POSTS

Chantelle from fat mum slim teaches us how to make a cake in a jar. Two parts yum, one part awesome.

Over at The Happiness Cocktail, Yaz is enjoying switching off her laptop and switching on her ‘real’ life.

Life feeling out of control crazy? Check out Samantha’s post for Balance in Me on surviving the busyness epidemic.

Marthe discusses sharing your dreams on her fabulous blog The Freedom Experiment.

Jo Foster asks ‘Are you really you?’

This post on how to be happy is really interesting, care of MINDFOOD.

STYLE AND BEAUTY

These patterned footless tights from Tightology would add some interest to an otherwise dull winter outfit

The Dreamer t-shirt is not only gorgeous and inspiring but is also made from organic cotton (bonus!) by lovely Brisbane Etsy seller milatree (bonus!)

I am still lusting over handbags, this time it’s the Splash Knot handbag by Melbourne designer Sarah Conners.

A bunch of goodies available from Mecca Cosmetica: Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Serum, NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Carthage, Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector and Smashbox Photo Finish Colour Foundation Primer.

What have you been loving recently?

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