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Friday, 30 April 2010

"a well spent day brings happy sleep" - da Vinci

I took a day off work today.  It was probably a bad idea seeing as it was the last day of the month, but I did it for me and I have no regrets.

I didn't sleep in, instead I spent the day volunteering for a room full of Business Chicks with Mia Freedman as the key note speaker.  I love giving my time when I get the chance, while learning along the way.

Simply put, Business Chicks is a network for working women.  Through an online community and regular breakfast, lunch and casual networking functions, working women get a chance to not only dress up and get out of the office but also find new clients and meet other friendly, ambitious business women.  Don't forget those business cards! 

You can read more about Emma Isaacs, the CEO of Business Chicks and as well as read her blog here.

I love and admire Mia Freedman.  She's a beautiful woman but also a successful one.  She was editor of Australian Cosmo magazine at age 24.  She's a mother, entrepreneur and somebody who isn't afraid to share her opinions - be it on fashion, what Kim Kardashian wore last night or her dislike of the opposition leader.  As a woman it's empowering to know that there are women in this world who can do what they love, do it on their own terms and still maintain a marriage and motherhood. (don't worry Mia, we do know it's not all glam).  Mia shares her often unglamourous daily experiences with us through her blog and also her column in Sunday Life.  Sunday papers are my weakness, the regular readers of my blog would know that.  Her column always leaves me pondering and forming an opinion, getting into an argument with myself.

Today she spoke from the heart, without notes, without a script.  A raw, witty and honest overview of her life and particularly her fight to show "real" women in fashion magazines.  And all coupled with a slideshow of images of the real Mia, sans make up and unafraid of poking fun at herself for this outfit choice... (I found it on your blog Mia!)

Mia opens up even further in her memoir about life at the very top of the fashion magazine world (editor in chief of Cosmo, Cleo & Dolly which reach 72% of Australian women), a rough foray into television, the loss of an unborn child...

I had the pleasure of chatting to Mia for a few moments before she left and I'm really looking forward to reading her books over the weekend (even though I should be studying).  I've felt a bit flat lately, but I'm feeling inspired and motivated all over again after such a lovely day....

Wishing you all a lovely weekend... x

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The Corporate Wardrobe

Putting together the perfect corporate wardrobe would have to be one of the biggest fashion challenges.  There is so much ill fitting, poor quality stuff out there that you'd be paying hundreds of dollars for.  It's also very difficult to find the right balance between looking good and being taken seriously for your merit.  It's often a catch 22.   I love blogging and I love visiting blogs, but sometimes I am blown away by girls who can post a different outfit every day. I couldn't imagine owning so many things.  I don't have a lot but I love it all - I make sure that everything fits perfectly and I wear it all the time - in particular the corporate wardrobe - most things are worn a few times a month at the very least.  The key to ensuring that I do not get sick of things quickly is to buy things that are very me style wise, that are well made and well cut and that go with a lot of other items in my wardrobe.  The experimenting and fashion I leave for play time.

Here's my pick of essential corporate staples.

I'd love to know what your corporate wardrobe staples are too

Pretty, floaty tops in neutral colours.  These can be worked back with skirts, trousers or even jeans for casual wear.

Black pencil suits with detail - zips, buttons, belts.  I love unexpected details in really feminine pieces.

A trench coat!  I love belted coats that are roomy enough to layer over a whole outfit.  I feel the cold quickly and I love having a nice coat to keep me warm.

Printed blouses... nice to layer under good basics.

Shift dresses.  Nothing beats an easy dress to throw on in the morning when you're not sure what to wear!  I love the sleeves on this one - can get away wearing it without a jacket.. with a skinny waist belt or some dainty beads

A roomy black bag.  I carry my life in my bag - diary, notebook, files, a book to read on the tram.. my lunch.  You name it, it has to fit in my bag.

Dainty jewellery.  I'm not a fan of big, chunky statement pieces for the office.  I don't want my necklace or chandelier earrings distracting from what I'm saying in a meeting.

Wrap dresses - serve a similar purpose to the shift dress.  They work on their own.

Black pumps with a mid (8/9cm) heel.  I think shoes often make an outfit.  Get them "serviced" regularly.. the tips changed, a clean and polish.  It's unimpressive to see a man or woman walk into a room, with dirty, scuffed shoes with holes on the sole and the tip hanging off the heel.

I love this look - I like the cropped sleeves which give the blouse more focus and the details on the jacket with the big buttons.

Another great outfit with the ruffle detail detail and great fitting skirt.  

My biggest pleasure when taking people out for personal shopping is doing their corporate wardrobe and being update with a list of compliments they've received on their looks.

all images from NAP.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

In a parallel universe...

I'm not sitting here in a cold apartment because the heater is broken and I do have somewhere to wear beautiful things like these...

Monday, 26 April 2010

Round and round and round we go...

I've been thinking about getting a bike.  I haven't had a car for 3 years and I don't plan on getting one any time soon - it's totally unnecessary for me.  Melbourne is the perfect place to ride a bike to work/shops/gym as it's so flat.  I just don't know if I'd skip a convenient tram ride for a bike and if I could look as glamourous as these ladies whilst cycling...

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Alpha 60 - Pleat Scarf

Trying to decide which to get for mum (and obviously to be able to borrow for myself)...  I like the 3rd one best.


All images from Alpha 60 - Pleat Scarves AUD120 each.
So my frivolity lent is going well.

So far, I've deleted every SALE! SALE! SALE/FREE SHIPPING!!! email from my inbox without even opening it.

My ugly assignment is also progressing. My head is buried in enthralling readings about Trade Practices Acts, water lore, sustainability, resource allocation et al. Post grad is so much fun. Not.

I am on course to hand it in before I jump on an aeroplane tomorrow night at 1905 hours and head off to spend the long weekend with B and my family. I hope it stops raining in Brisbane before we get there.
One thing I loathe more than most things is coming back from a weekend away to dirty house. I don't mean a house that looks like 30 college students had a party in it over the weekend; I just mean a house that wasn't thoroughly cleaned just before departure and a house that does not smell FRESH. It must be sparkling with a dash of room spray that hopefully still lingers upon return.

Upon completing my long weekend pre departure to do list last night, I discovered that I was totally out of cleaning products! And I mean totally... not a single smidge left in most of them. I usually clean everything with Jiff, which does a world of good to my surfaces but is of little benefit to my various allergies and my skin.

I've seen HumeMurchison Hume mentioned by a few bloggers and I went to Domayne at lunch to buy a couple of things - my first purchases were the Boys Bathroom Cleaner and Effortless Floor Splash . I hope they clean as well as Jiff does but smell a bit better. I was not tempted by any other shops, I kept looking straight ahead. So proud.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Designers We Love - Sass & Bide

Sass & Bide are well and truly back.  For a few seasons, due to health issues no doubt, the girls were a little stale.  But lately, they have really turned it up a notch with some fabulous statement, standout pieces.  Their clothes are quirky and sexy and very feminine.

And not to mention the perfect jeans.  They have been my denim saviour for years.

And wow, these leggings!

Looking forward to sharing with you all some of my other favourite Australian designers, especially with Fashion Week coming up.

all images via and

“when experience is not retained, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.

Is the world trying to tell us something?  There are thousands upon thousands of people standed around the world away from their loved ones, unable to start their new job, unable to commence or complete holidays that they've been looking forward to for so long.  And the volcano doesn't sound/look like it's going to stop any time soon (it last errupted in 1820 and that erruption lasted for 2 years.  But people are making do.

Were the million +++ dollar bonuses that Wall Street firms were paying over the last 20 years really sustainable?  Were people kidding themselves thinking it would never end?  The latest scandal involving Goldman Sachs has finally woken up a lot of people, especially considering how conservative they were as an organisation as they seemed to weather the GFC storm pretty well.

Occasionally I come across a book which has a profound impact. I am reading a book on an issue that I have been thinking about for years – how do we truly learn from our mistakes? The book is called ‘Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)’, written by psychologists C. Tavris and E. Aronson.
I have always been intrigued with the incredible capacity of (business) people to rationalise poor management/judgement, totally convincingly and with genuine conviction, on the basis that it was outside their control or actually not something they ever truly agreed with, even when they were in responsible jobs and were paid a lot (of course, when things go well, it was down to their judgement!).

The GFC produced examples such as "no one saw this coming", "we were in the same position as others" etc. In other words, when things go wrong, we all have a capacity to rewrite history to fit our current perception. We search for evidence to support propositions we have already persuaded ourselves are true - mistakes were made by others, but not by me! The problem with this natural human defence/failing is that we don’t learn. This is the real cost and the source of my concern. It’s a business issue as well as a human one.
A great book with an important message! An organisation (person) willing to face into its mistakes, is an organisation (person) willing to learn and thus less likely to repeat mistakes.
I have been going on a bit of an indulgent binge lately, showering myself with frivolous, luxury purchases which fill a void and cause excitement for a few hours.  I am on a zillion online store mailing lists, offering me VIP discounts, free shipping etc.  I am constantly bombarded with SALE! SALE! SALE! mail.  I like to keep abreast of new designers and trends, but my heart is constantly from new items that for some reason I think I have to have.
The latest culprit is The Outnet.  After the chaos of their 1 dollar sale, they are offering free shipping over the next 4 weeks with the code freeshipbday and silly old me has purchased a pair of Chloe heels (granted I've wanted these for a while).  They fit my main criteria - they are suitable for my lifestyle.  But suddenly, due to free shipping, new things start to catch my eye, that I would not have paid AUD30 to have shipped to me otherwise.  This evil cycle has to stop. 

Inspired by a fellow blogger Make Do Style I am going to MAKE DO for the next 40 days.  Finish that half used tub of body scrub instead of trying a new one that a big company has released that's virtually the same as all the other ones, except for the subtle "new" vanilla scent.  Forget the leopard print tights from my favourite high street store.

Instead I'm going to put in more of an effort into my study that I'm further and further behind with, I'm going to do some more cooking, maybe even clear out the pantry.  And not to mention the neglected gym membership.  Surely there are more fulfilling accomplishments in life than buying stuff!

The challenge starts now.  I will post items that I would have purchase, just to monitor my habits and at the end of the 40 days, I bet that I will look back at everything and think.. hmm I didn't really need that after all?

Now, I'm going to enjoy my Chloe scalloped edge heels...

Monday, 19 April 2010

Cire Trudon

Sunday afternoons I always try to dedicate to some relaxation time.  I try to finish all my chores and like to try to unwind and plan the week ahead.  Sometimes I head out, other times I'm at home, but this relaxation almost always also involves some chocolate, tea or sometimes a glass of wine.... and it always does involve burning a candle.

A few weeks ago I visited the lovely Semi Expat as she was taking care of Peony, a divine perfumery in Hawthorn and got myself a new candle.  Since then I've been burning Cire Trudon Odalisque - Fleur d'oranger/Orange blossom

Enclosed in citrus and wood bark, the orange blossom weaves a painter's dream from which escapes the pale volute of smoke from a narghile.  As an orientalist painting, furiously romantic, the vigorous scent of the cade, and solar splinter of citrus fruits, come out as a thin blade in the silky shadow of vanilla.

The candles are really indulgent and richly fragrant and not to mention beautifully packaged.

270g boxed candle - up to 80 hour burn time - $99 Peony Melbourne

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Masterpieces from Paris - an amazing day!

Perfect day, immersed in some of word's best artwork.

4.47am - the alarm woke me and I wasn't in the mood, I didn't have the best night's sleep, but an exciting day awaited me.  I had been intending to see this exhibit for a few months and the day was finally here!

5.33am - leave for the airport

6.55am - reach the airport, join the express lane and check in.   Flying with Tiger when on a tight, 10 hour schedule was always a risk, but it paid off and there was no hassles

7.10am - departed Melbourne for Canberra

8am - touch down in Canberra, walking off the plane and I realise I've left my prescription glasses on board!  An art exhibit whilst practically blind?  IMPOSSIBLE

9am - finally get my glasses from the ground staff

9.15am - pick up my hire car and head off to breakfast

9.30am - breakfast is at Silo Bakery a highly recommended spot in Canberra's Kingston

These tarts are honestly amazing!

The weather in Canberra was terrific, a warm mid 20's with autumn colours of brown and red visible in the trees

10am - headed to the National Gallery of Australia for the exhibit.  Lines were minimal due to timed entry, so spent half an hour checking out the rest of the exhibit before entering Masterpieces at 11am.  I spent a mesmerizing 2 hours with Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne, Cross, Monet, Picasso, Rousseau, Sargent, Seguin, Sisley and co.  Musee d'Orsay is being renovated and these exquisite pieces are touring the world.  Thus far, it has been the most visited paid exhibit Australia has ever had.  Starry Night's was spectacular.  To see the brush strokes and the signature is something a picture will never afford you.  The audio only added to it and was a wonder compliment to the exhibit.

1.10pm - walk out in a haze of wonderment with a heavy book in hand, as well as a post card and the ubiquitous fridge magnet that B and I collect from each place we visit.  

1.30pm - go on a quick drive around Canberra's sites.  My sister in law was my co traveller this time around and she hadn't been to Canberra in over 10 years.  Even though Canberra is the nation's capital, it is not the most exciting, or photogenic place.

That's me at Parliament House (wearing black tights, American Apparel tee, black Zac Posen for Target blazer, my SG eiffel tower brooch [it was the Paris exhibit afterall!!])

View from Parliament House to Old Parliament House

More autumn colours

2.10pm - quick drive around Parliament Circle to check out some of the embassies.  

South Africa is counting down to the World Cup - aren't we all?

2.30pm - onto the Hyatt for Afternoon Tea.  They called me in the morning saying there was a cancellation!

Wedding in the court yad


Mini scones, creme, creme caramel... banana mousse...

The Tea Rooms

4.15pm - Departed for the airport, dropped off car and home time.

Hope you've all had a lovely weekend too!  x