Easter Sunday Look Book

Anyone who grew up in the Church would tell you that Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day somewhat resemble an exotic fashion Show in Milan. Whether it be polished shoes, manicured nails, perfectly placed hair or exquisite gowns; Easter Sunday is always a time of celebration, family and putting the regular ‘Sunday best’ to shame.

Well versed and knowing this will be the case, I sought to outfit my old-world conservative lace tier dress with youthful accessories to create a playful, yet Church appropriate look.

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Shop my look:

Seed Heritage Lace Tier Dress

Gucci Blooms 

Hugo Boss Nude Shoes

Longines PrimaLuna L8.110.4.87.6

MAC Velvet Teddy Lipstick

Wishing all a happy and safe Easter!

Disclaimer: well-aware that the canines pictured are by far the best accessories to any outfit.

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Hacks to Save Money When Travelling in Europe

  1. Find a Geographical Focus

It is easy, if not natural, to get wrapped up in the excitement of endless possibilities when planning your voyage throughout Europe. When considering what historic streets and enchanted cities you want to roam, many look solely at the well-loved destinations such as Paris, London (although no longer in the European Union), Milan, Rome. Whilst some do jet-set from corner to corner of Europe to experience major cities, it is imperative to be methodical and geographically focused when planning your route.

My best friend and I ran into this issue whilst booking our voyage.

We had both visited different countries respectively and neither of us were willing to overlook unseen cities for those that were familiar. In out attempts of working around said issue, it became apparent that we would have to invest thousands upon thousands for a few weeks of travel to jet-set throughout Europe.

AUSTRIA>LODZ>WARSAW>KRAKOW>BUDAPEST>ZAGREB>SPLIT>HVAR>ZDAR>

DUBROVNIK>KORCULA>PRAGUE>AUSTRALIA

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In retrospect, our excitement and naivety led us to making inefficient decisions that lost us valuable time and wads of cash. What is painfully apparent is that you cannot see all of Europe at once, and to be frank, you probably shouldn’t either. If you are lucky enough to do so, travel at multiple stages throughout your life, when you have different passions, interests and desires.

If you, like us, have no idea where to start and how to determine what the natural route of travel is, I recommend referring to established bus and train routes to grasp the most efficient way of seeing as many cities as you can.

2. Stay Central and Travel by Foot

An ethos I have worked by throughout all my trips domestic and abroad. Whilst residing in
central city locations can be on the pricier side, savings from not using public transport, taxis and ride-sharing services should be accounted for in the price of your central location.

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3.  Continental Breakfasts 

The gift that keeps on giving.

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I am yet to stay at a hotel or hostel in Europe that does not provide a continental breakfast,complimentary or not. A sneaky penny saving tactic that I have used in the past is packing lunch on the go at the breakfast bar.

A simple ziplock bag can house a sumptuous rustic sandwich made with fresh and healthy product, too often overlooked whilst travelling.

In doing so, I am unashamed to have saved hundreds if not thousands of dollars with packed lunches.

4.  Travel with Countries not on the Euro

Exchange rates can be a make or break when travelling on a tight budget. Eastern European nation such as Poland, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania that have a favourable exchange rate in comparison to the AUD/US Dollar/Pound will not drain your pockets and accounts.

Note: Strong economies that do not adhere to the Euro currency, such as Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and the UK can be onerous on the back pocket. 

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5. Pack a Flask

No, not that type of flask.

I mean, each to their own but that’s not what I’m referring to.

A trick I recently learnt on my cruise is to take a lightweight flask that can maintain theh999bu078_t2-stainless-steel-flask-lilac_r1
warmth of tea or coffee for the duration of the day. Whilst some may see this as a ludicrous proposition, for someone like me who drinks 5+ cups of
tea daily, I can save on average $700AUD within the month of travel.

6. Beauty Maintenance 

Calling it out for what it is, beauty maintenance services in travel hubs is the equivalent of a daylight robbery.

Forget the gypsies and pick-picketers, the lay-traveller should fear the beautician and how much he/she will charge you.

Every time I return to Europe, I learn the hard way (over and over again) that shellac is not anywhere near as popular and affordable as it is in Australia.

Whilst I am consistent with my fortnightly shellac maintenance, affording that same maintenance overseas makes me feel like I’ve sold my soul for a fresh pair of non-cuticle, coloured claws. For the sake of your monobrow, nails, spirit and account – tick a pair of tweezers, a bottle of nail polish and hair treatments off your ‘to pack‘ list.

7. Be an Aware Passenger (Taxis)

Before departing for Budapest, I was advised by fellow travellers that the taxi-drivers in Eastern Europe are notoriously known for ripping tourists off. I, ever the optimist, paid little attention to the advice offered to me, being:

A. Familiarise yourself with the rate of the side of the taxi.
B. Ask the driver whether they can estimate how much the fare will come to, and/or whether they are willing to establish a set price before the meter begins.
C. If all else fails, bargain with different drivers until you are offered a reasonable price.

Even with this advice, we were ripped off and charged a ridiculous amount for a 10 minute adventure. Ironically, the driver who was perfectly competent in the english language and conversed with us throughout the whole journey, claimed there was a language barrier when we questioned the final fare cost charged.

8. Hop-on-Hop-off Buses

2016 was the year of the hop-on-hop-off adventures. The amount I crammed into a limited amount of time stands testament to how fantastic these services truly are.

The beauty of the hop-on-hop-off service is that it is tailored to facilitate the ‘go-to’ placed for tourists whilst still allowing the option to sight-see solo.

When I sit and calculate how much time, effort and money would be funnelled into catching public transport and hiring a tour guide, it is evident that these services are both efficient and economical.

9. Travel Insurance

Need I say more?

You are potentially saving yourself hundreds of thousands of dollars if one of your adventures turns pear-shaped.

In the meantime, happy travelling!

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February Favourites

Fashion

1.  Dior Tribal Earrings

The En Dior Tribale earrings have quickly established themselves as a staple piece of every bloggers wardrobe. For that specific reason, I vowed to never show interest in the seemingly over-hyped pair of earrings. Whilst I am a huge pearl enthusiast, I like many was unwilling to look past unbranded accessories that exhibited great craftsmanship and individuality, for mass-produced pieces that are not even freshwater pearls.

My stoic attitude was however challenged by one of my favourite bloggers Lydia Elise Millen, as she unboxed a stunning sterling silver pair of Tribal Earrings from Paris, with an unrivalled intricate design. From there on, I could not get the less common tribal earrings designs out of my mind, helplessly watching the items sell for ludicrous prices on the consignment market. For that reason I decided to invest when I had the opportunity and jump on the tribal bandwagon…and I have not looked back since!

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2. Gucci GG Blooms Continental Wallet
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As exhibited in my previous posts, the GG Blooms print truly is the apple of my eye. With that in mind, let’s not act surprised that I am insanely in love with my GG Blooms Continental ‘Zip Around’ Wallet.

Even though fashions are moving away from continental wallets towards sleeker card cases, I proudly rock my floral beauty like a nana with her decades old fur jacket – wearing it without a care.

If you are on the market for a sturdy canvas wallet that can be utilised as a clutch (and that isn’t sported by every Tom, Dick and Jane) – I would unreservedly recommend this piece.

3. Zoe Wittner – Clide Shoes

Quite literally my ‘go-to‘ shoe.

Work? Clide.

Date night? Clide.

Mountain walk? Clide.

Wedding? Clide.

Funeral? Clide.

Okay, perhaps exaggerated slightly, but nevertheless these shoes scream Aquazzura vibes to me (minus that painful Aquazzura price tag) ! This attention grabbing pair is always the focal part of conversations, and/or outfit. After spending a day in the city shopping with my mother, she came to the opinion that women and other on passers spent more time staring at my shoes than they did anything else. They are the perfect comfort sandal, with a durable suede lining, paired with that certain pazazz you do not often see in high street.

My love runs deep for them, so much so that I returned to purchase the style in all provided colours – not even sorry!

Beauty

1.  Guerlain ‘Rouge G de Guerlain’ Lipsticks

Guerlain is a brand I always wanted to try, but somehow never got around to (like most things in my life). Hearing esteemed lifestyle bloggers rave about the velvety and luxurious pigment of the lipsticks made me instantly lust for one of my own. As if that wasn’t enough, the heritage of the company had me swooning unimaginably, with the House of Guerlain was founded in 1828, when Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain opened his perfume store at 42 in Paris.

I finally took the leap into Guerlain, and have not looked back since.

The two colors I can not get enough of are the Orgueil M69 and Luxure M27 (pictured below). As someone who rarely stray from my holy grail nude shades, and in the rare occurrence that I do it is to sport another nude, these shades are a well needed sophisticated nighttime shade.

2. Omorovicza Skincare

I first encountered Omorovicza products in Mecca Cosmetica and to be blatantly honest, the moment I heard of the process behind the product, the efforts chemists went to and the active ingredients, I was listening.

The moment they told me the story of Margaret and Stephen, the founders of the product, they had my attention.

Fast forward to the early days of this century Margaret and Stephen met in Budapest. Stephen took his future wife on a tour of Hungary and their first stop? The thermal baths. Here, they were amazed at the transformation of their skin and so enlisted the help of a Nobel prize-winning laboratory to harness these healing waters into a pioneering new luxury skincare range, using Hydro Mineral Transference.

Origins of Omorovicza

The moment they told me the product originated from Budapest – I was sold.

Irrespective of the product packaging, indifferent to the scent and/or the popularity, Omorovicza is by far the best skincare I have ever used (finally, something knocking Clinique Anti-Blemish Solution Review off it’s pedestal).

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3. MECCA COSMETICA (store)

Okay, so, newsflash to everyone else out there who like me, didn’t know that Mecca
a does not purely specialise in makeup (Mecca Maxima), but also in skincare!

Further to that, I can hand on heart attest to the fact that I have never been so impressed with the sales assistants as I was in Mecca Cosmetica. After wandering aimlessly into The Galleries store, I was so thankful to have met a brilliant sales person named Alma who spent in excess of an hour with me, discussing the heritage, stories and skincare products within the store. What struck me was how much knowledge these women possessed and the inconceivable passion they had for exceptional product and helping
clients with their skin needs.

I will be hard pressed to shop anywhere else for my skincare needs from now on. Through old fashioned customer service, I will happily blow the trumpet and be an ambassador for Mecca Cosmetica. If you too feel like you are wasting hundreds upon hundreds of dollars on ineffective creams – head into your nearest Mecca Cosmetica and merely ask for help.

4. Carolina Herrera, Good Girl

My first encounter with this scent was in the duty-free shopping of the Pacific Jewel.
From that first whiff, I could not get the flirtatious fragrance out of my head, so much so that I woke up the next day knowing that I could not resist brining the stiletto shaped bottle home. Carolina Herrera’s new fragrance is a delicate balance between sweet floral scents and deep sexy undertones.

5. Priceline Hair Care ‘Goody Bag’

This month Priceline offered customers a ‘Goody Bag‘ with product amounting to $260 when customers spent $50 on hair care products.  This bag consisted of various full-sized products which to my surprise were of impeccable quality and value.

Miscellaneous

1. 7/11 Iced Coffee

At the risk of sounding like a ‘BB’, iced coffee is the man-kinds greatest creation since sliced bread.

Why not enjoy a guilt free iced coffee that will only set you back $2, in comparison to cafes that will end up being a robbery by daylight?

2. ECOYA White Peach & Orange Blossom Reed Diffuser

As an appreciator of all scents peach, it seems fitting that my room constantly smell of sweet citrus!

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3. Spotify – Sleep Playlist

I am still unaware of what the third track on the playlist is… I am always in a peaceful slumber by that stage.

4. T2 Tea Flask

I was lucky enough to be gifted the much anticipated tea flask for Valentine’s Day. H999BU078_t2-stainless-steel-flask-lilac_r1.jpgWhilst I was advised that the tea will stay hot for 6-8 hours, a claim that I was sceptical about, I found that tea could stay hot for much longer. I can confirm that these claims are not mere puff and they are completely and unreservedly worth the money.

My flask was my number one item used on my recent cruise, addressed in Travel Tips & Tricks: Cruises. A stunning gift and addition for anyone who loves there tea anywhere near as much as I do.

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Travel Tips & Tricks: Cruises

 

I went on a cruise.

Now there’s something I never thought I would say/write.

Whilst I have always loved travelling (if you couldn’t already tell after reading Honestly, Is Travelling In Your 20’s Really Worth It?), I never really gave crusing a second thought. For me a holidays correlated with planes, trains and everything in between, bar boats.

I suprised myself in agreeing to book a quick little getaway with my partner on the Pacific Jewel, and at the other side of the trip, and I readily await my next cruising experience (and when that time comes, I will be sure to return to this post as a refresher).

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1.Calculate your expenses using the cost-per-day method

When determining what cruise to book, calculate the cost per-day expenses.

Whilst it may seem daunting to shell out hundreds of dollars for a few days of excitement, when you break down the daily costs and what those funds include, the value of the cruise really speaks for itself.

Sidenote: Seems that the cost-per-wear ideology is trickling into other areas of daily life!

2. Make a standing reservation for dinner at the Waterfront Restaurant

The Waterfront Restaurant was honestly one of the highlights of the cruising experience!

My partner and I determined by the end of the trip that if we were to dine at a restaurant in Sydney for four nights in a row, our bill would amount to more than what our cruise fare was.

The Waterfront Restaurant is a gorgeous dining experience where a large selection of fine-dining meals are available and included in your cruise fare. The Waterfront to me felt like a date night every evening – with the impeccable service, food, decor and attention to detail, it was easy to forget the fact that you are actually on the high seas.

Every day our anticipation grew throughout the day, wondering what we would indulge in that evening. Needless to say my extra 2kg of weight on my frame was well worth the experience of the Waterfront Restraunt. I am happy to run on a treadmill for a few weeks for my few days of unrestricted indulgence.

If you are cruising on the Pacific Jewel, as soon as you get on the cruise liner, head to level 7 and make a standing reservation for each evening at a consistent time… thank me later!

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p.s if the images do not look appealing, blame it on the photography – in reality the food was flawless.

 3. Bring an empty flask or water bottle

My biggest concern before boarding the boat is quite possibly the most ridiculous concern anyone could ever have – I was concerned with the tea situation. My browsing history was all kinds of odd – I neurotically googled and enquired whether there was tea available onboard, whether I was required to purchase a ‘drinks package’ and whether it was humanly possible to sneak a kettle in my bag without detection.

One of the better decisions I made was taking one of my valentine’s day presents on board with me, that being a T2 tea flask that keeps drinks hot for 6-8 hours on average. I quite literally probably spent more time on level 12 where the tea dispenser was than I did in my room.

If you on the other hand are not a tea fan and you are wondering how you are to have water onboard (because let’s be real, who wants to spend copious amounts of money on water), I recommend brining an empty water bottle and filling it up onboard. Whilst it is asked that you do not directly place your water bottle under the water dispenser, I filled cups of water and poured that water into my bottle to ensure I was hygenic and respectful to other patrons and that I was not going to die of dehydration.

4. Prepay your ‘Cruise Card’

Two words – accountability and security

Call me paranoid, but I prefer to keep my card details to myself, rather than share my financial details with business and corporations. Whilst I acknowledge that there is little chance of banking details falling into the wrong hands – I will take any and every precaution I can take.

Further, why not keep yourself financially accountable and stay on-top of your onboard spending habits?!

I know that this is a tip that the cruise liner would prefer you not take, and might I note that we were not informed that there were pre-paid cruise card options onboard, but be sure to ask about the option when boarding the ship.

5. Schedule your daily activities the night before

Cruises are fantastic not only for their great service and culinary delights, but also for their on-board experiences. With the amount of comedy shows, dance classes, tournaments, trivia games and movies on offer, it can be difficult to schedule in everything that you want to experience within the hours available.

As I was travelling with my partner, we had to compromise with one another and determine what our daily activities would be the night before. P & O Cruises leave the daily schedule for the next day, ‘Good Times‘, allowing you the opportunity to pre-plan your onboard experiences.

We sat with a pen and initialled the activities we wanted to be involved in and debate why we should choose one over the other… (ladies, you know you’re onto a good thing when your partner agrees to take two dance classes at the cost of their table-tennis tournament).

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6. Get to know the cruise staff members

Cruise staff work ridiculously hard, they are always so chirpy and helpful and should be recognised for their amazing service and professionalism. Say good morning when you pass them in the hall, take the time to talk to the entertainment staff and find out about their stories – after all, that is the beauty of travel.

7. Forget about the internet (and WIFI for that matter!)

Yes, you will feel like Tom Hanks in Castaway without internet.

Yes, you will survive. No, the ‘free wifi’ will not work, even in public spaces.

8. Pre-purchase your adventure activities prior to the cruise

Moreton Island is a beautiful destination, yet given the stringent time frame allocated for activities on the Island, I am so grateful that we booked our adventures before the cruise commenced. If we were to book on the Island, the time lost in determining what adventures we wanted to take and organising the experience would have eaten away a chunk of the day that would be better spent in the water.

Note that there was no price difference in our experience between repurchased activities and those that could be bought on the day.

9. Pack a capsule wardrobe

A golden rule for any travels is organising a versatile capsule wardrobe.

Packing Rules:

1. Do not pack anything you don’t absolutely love–you won’t wear it. Like an capsule wardrobe, you wan’t to focus only on what you adore. Instead, you’ll re-wear the things you do love, and will have wasted space for nothing. (If you don’t love something, why do you own it anyway?)

2. Pick a color scheme, and stick to it. Every single item you pack must also match every other item you pack. This results in dozens of outfit combinations and virtually zero effort required to get dressed every day. Sticking to classic basics also ensures you won’t look back at photos and think, “GOD what was I wearing!?” Remember, there is nothing chicer than all-black.

3. Limit yourself to three pairs of shoes. There’s a reason most capsule wardrobes limit footwear choices, you really don’t need that many!

A Travel Capsule Wardrobe: Your Ultimate Packing List

10. Take a power-board with you

With two power ports in each room and multiple appliances to charge, packing a powerboard was an ingenious idea!

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16 Lessons Learnt throughout 2016!

Following the cathartic experience of constructing and publishing Sticks and Stones: 15 Lessons 2015 Offered, I figured what better way to welcome the new year than to share the trial and tribulations of 2016, for the benefit of 2017 (hopefully).

1. Enjoy the small luxuries in life

Whether it be a triple scented candle, decadent body wash, visiting the salon, meditating or using luxurious self-care products – spoil yo’ self.

When you are content with the bare essentials of life, small indulgences can lift your spirits and be a source of gratification.

Luxury is in the eye of the beholder, to some what may seem menial can be lavish to another – indulge in what makes you feel nourished, maintained and worthy.

2. Love your friends irrespective of their life choices

Irrespective of how abhorrent their decision-making skills are, how poorly they have managed a delicate situation, or how much you want to slap some sense into them – a true friend offers nothing less than unconditional love and a willingness to understand.

Never forget, that everyone deals with heartache differently. It is difficult to sit at the bed of a friend falling apart, accept their vices and not cast judgement on their actions; how they’re dealing with a situation, in comparison to how you would deal with the situation.

Sticks and Stones: 15 Lessons 2015 Offered

3. Take every opportunity and up-skill with time

Say yes to every opportunity and learn on the job.

No one is born all knowledgable and powerful – even the most successful people relied on mentors and the assistance of others to perfect their craft.

If an opportunity is offered to you, appreciate that said individual or company is communicating belief in your current abilities and your future potential. Mirror the trust on offer to you and take a leap of faith.

4. Body transformations should be fuelled by love

Physical transformations should be undertaken with nothing but self-love as the primary drive.

If you fail to love yourself through the various steps of the process, you are less likely to appreciate the final result – neglecting all that you worked for. If you are genuinely putting in the hard yards, take a step back and appreciate the ride.

5. Travel often

You return to that adult life, a little poorer, a little more tanned and with a lot less phone memory – but you return with something money can not buy. You return with experiences, memories that you can hold dear and reminisce about and your return with practical experience. You travelled to a different continent and survived. You return with beautiful images of unspoken places imprinted in your head and memories or the drunken conversations you had with people whose names you can not recall and memories of the scent in the air. Somehow you have changed but the world continues around you. Whilst I wouldn’t say no to a designer bag or a car upgrade, experience trumps every imaginable material object said money could have paid for.

I return home empowered that I am an independent adult, proud that I was frugal to enough save the funds and impatiently awaiting the next stamp of my passport.

I assure you – if you are in a position to and there is something you should do –

travel!

Honestly, Is Travelling In Your 20’s Really Worth It?

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6. It’s okay to take two steps forward, one step back!

There is no shame in accepting that you bit off more than you could chew, or that your chosen path has proven unfulfilling to you.

7. Purchase with the ‘cost per wear‘ formula

Cost per wear is the magic formula of shopping. Whilst many dismiss the notion as a ploy sales people use to up-sell, I genuinely believe in the cost per wear merits.

Cost per wear is effectively conceputalising your potential material good as something that can be rented. If the GG Blooms Dionysus Bag retails at $2805AUD and I was to theoretically wear it on 250 occasions within the year, the cost per wear ($2805 ÷ 250 = $11.22) – meaning you are paying $11.22 everytime you wear your bag. The more you wear your item, the lower the cost per wear is, meaning you made a successful purchase.

I correlate this formula with a ‘renting’ scenario , as I compare cost per wear to the renting dress and luxury goods market. Yes, you can pay a handbag connoisseur $300 for the weekend to borrow their Chanel – but at the end of the day you are paying off their purchase.

Whilst I love this business model and would be the last person to criticise it – why pay off another persons item, when you can pay off your own?! Likewise, I would rather pay slightly more and own my own home, rather than someone else’s investment (again, I’ll probably live at home until I’m forty-five, so no worries there).

Buying into Luxury?

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8. Dont let people plant doubt in you

Yes, the blogging industry is over-saturated.

Yes, the legal profession has a high rate of graduate unemployment.

Yes, houses are ridiculously expensive.

So what do you propose I do about it all?

Delete every remnant of my online presence?

Drop out of law-school?

Live with my parents until I am old and grey? (likely to be the case)

Give up on everything I want in life because statistically certain things are hard to achieve? 

Be realistic and appreciate that these are statements of fact, however, an unwavering work ethic, determination and a genuine passion to be successful in your chosen field is a formula without fault. Keep working in silence and have faith in yourself and your hustle.

9. Know how and when to pick your battles

Be antagonistic only when you can afford to be antagonistic.

If you are travelling through a rocky part of your friendship of relationship, be self-reflective enough to know when to back off.

10. Empower, do not compete

Confident women do not hate or compete with one another. These women help one another with guidance, mentoring, love, support and above all – respect.

Confident women better themselves for their own sake, whether they achieve more than other women in that process is secondary to self-growth.

I cannot speak for confident men (for the obvious reason that I identify as a woman).

11. What others think of you is none of your business

You’re darned if you do, darned if you don’t.

Do not preoccupy yourself with the views of others.

12. Write about your goals

Make a habit out of writing what you are grateful for, your goals and how you plan to achieve said goal on a day to day basis. For me, it is a battered diary, full of scrawls, lists and ideas that have either blossomed into something bigger and better, or have rightfully never seen the light of day.

The ability to reflect and foresee how you are progressing is an effective way of holding yourself accountable for your action and/or inaction.

13. The ‘Social Media Self’ is merely a guise 

Instagram has been used as a simulacrum of ones’ life, where over stylized, overly glamorized and deceiving images are used to create an online story that isn’t necessarily representative of the person’s life. For some, these identities have become invaluable with their content winning over vast audiences and attention from companies who are willing to monetise this following, by paying for plugs. Those who work tirelessly on their media presence, often leave their jobs and live off audience engagement and the monetary benefits associated with doing so. It is no wonder why the 21st century lay person is so preoccupied on over-glamorising their lives and sharing it with the world.

I do not hastily point my finger at others, without first looking at myself and how I have engaged in this practice. I am a self-confessed lover of Instagram and I do undoubtedly engage in this process. I could think of nothing better than to put my law degree on hold to post pictures of myself on the internet in lavish places, with beautiful people, wearing the newest and most sought after clothing.

Quasi-celebrity status is what we are all after, whether you are honest enough to admit it or not, is another story.

Looking at Myself: Social Media and the Quantified Self

14. Take pride in ‘breaking the mould’

Be multifaceted; offer different views, opinions and talents to those around you.

Do not try to fit yourself neatly into a box or a stereotype, it is a disservice to the complicated and individual being that you are.

My primary fear in pursuing my blog was how I would describe what I write about in twenty-five words or less. Isawisniewska.com is a springboard for the many thoughts, inspirations and passions that I have. I am multifaceted, as are the topics that I write about. Own the fact that you are full of light, shade and various gradients of grey.

15. Know when to swallow your pride (and be transparent about it)

For the sake of a long-standing friendship, for the sake of your partner, for the sake of your family, or for your own sake – own up to your shortfalls (we all have them after all).

16. Old-school romantics are still out there

Perhaps romance isn’t dead – perhaps, through various disappointments and experiences, we protect and condition ourselves into thinking romance is dead.

Like scorched bushland, our minds become blinded by the desolation of ash and smoke and ignore the potential for renewal.

Similarly, when you find yourself cynically wondering when romance died (and why you didn’t get the memo) – breathe. Allow your childhood innocence to take a front seat and guide you, after all, you never know what is to come next.

Is Romance Really Dead?

Luxury Addict Tag

As a lover of luxury goods, evident within my previous luxury goods post, I thought it about time to publish my ‘Luxury Addict Tag’ post.

1. What was your first designer piece?

My buy-in luxury brands was the Australian label, Oroton.

From the ages of sixteen until eighteen (16-18), I accumulated a vast array of both bags and small leather goods (SLG’s) from the company. Luckily, Oroton have not deviated from their style roots, meaning my bags are still trendy and easily recognisable.

My first ‘international designer’ purchase was the Gucci GG Blooms Pouch (as pictured in Work Christmas Party Outfit).

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2. What do you consider your best investment?

In accordance with the cost-per-wear formula (described in Buying into IMG_3477.JPGLuxury?), my Louis Vuitton Speedy 35 in Damier Ebene has paid off exponentially. I use the traditional luggage piece as an everyday bag, a travel bag, an overnight bag and anything in between.

Whilst the Speedy is a common bag that near every Tom, Dick and Jane of the luxury community have, I appreciate the durability, the agreeable price point (in comparison to other bags) and how versatile the design is.

However, if I were to apply a traditional ‘investment’ approach, whereby I consider whether I can resell my bag after it has appreciated in value, my Louis Vuitton Capucines MM in Noir was a fantastic purchase. Whilst I somewhat regret not choosing the Capucines in the BB size, I appreciate this bag is considered to be the new ‘it’ icon bag for the company.

The signature bag may look simple, but it’s anything but. The bag is a marriage of two leathers: rounded, strong bull-calf leather alongside supple, silky calfskin. The combination adds a level of discreet elegance that is hard to ignore.

Consumers have turned away from monograms as a whole, from luxury designers and contemporary brands like Coach alike, and clearly Louis Vuitton listens to its shoppesr. Sure, some may still want to buy the classic monogram bags, but many prefer the timeless elegance that remains part of the brand’s heritage.

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Considering Louis Vuitton is arguably attempting to incorporate higher price point bags that compete with designers such as Chanel, I would not be surprised in Louis Vuitton introduces price rises at corresponding times.

3. What is your criteria when looking to buy a piece?

Questions that I pose to myself when looking at a possible addition to my wardrobe, are as follows:

  1. Determine whether this item is a trend driven piece (if so, does the trend correspond with my long-term personal style?)
  2. How versatile is this piece and can it be worn with your current wardrobe?
  3. What are the main materials of the potential purchase? Personally if I am paying more than $500 for an item, it generally will have to be leather (with the obvious exception of the Speedy 35).
  4. How are the finishes of the item – is their attention to detail? is the stitching neat? is there fraying? how will the item wear over time?
  5. What or who inspired you to consider the item? If it is an individual who you idealise, are you merely interested because you appreciate their personal style?
  6. What will the cost-per-wear be?
  7. Does the item fit into your lifestyle? For example, my lifestyle does not allow for micro or small bags. As a result, it would be a waste to purchase smaller bags.
  8. Are you genuinely passionate about this item?
  9. Question whether you are merely interested in the item because of the brand? If you removed the logo, would you appreciate the raw design?

4. What has been your stupidest/most regrettable purchase?

$200 aud (two-hundred dollars)  for a gold-plated glass ring. Yes, I was foolish img-thingenough to spend that type of money for the Yves Saint Laurent Arty Ring.

In my defence, I purchased the ring as I knew demand for the discontinued ring would rise, so why not purchase the ring second-hand, from a reputable seller who was offering a receipt.

I distinctly recall being underwhelmed when I opened the postage box. Thankfully, I did not struggle to re-sell the ring, although I broke-even on the purchase.

My second most regrettable purchase was the Louis Vuitton Trunks Bandeau in Rose Poudre.

Whilst Bandeaus/Twillies are glorified in the luxury lovers community, I regret purchasing mine for the simple fact that I struggle to justify $220 aud (two-hundred and twenty dollars) on a strip of fabric.

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5. If you have sold any of your luxury goods, have you ever had sellers regret?

Yes. I hope to God that my mother never stumbles across this tag and reads this response, otherwise I will be instructed to move out.

I frequently list my luxury goods online to recycle my funds to newer and more desirable products. However, there was a huge error of judgement when I both listed and sold a Louis Vuitton backpack that my mother passed down to me. After purchasing the classic monogram bag from a second-hand store in the early 2000’s, my mother never used the bag. During a wardrobe clean-out, my mother gave me the bag to wear. Unbeknown to me, the bag was actually an authentic piece that retails on the luxury second hand market from $800-$2,000 aud. Unfortunately, I sold the piece at a slight fraction of that cost, with the belief that it was a replica piece.

Sorry mum.

I still kick myself about that decision. As a result, I ensure that I engage a certified authenticator before I sell luxury goods that are vintage, or purchased and resold on the second-hand market.
6. What is a piece that you think everyone needs/should have?

I am not a great believer in dictating what material goods people should or shouldn’t have, as luxury goods are just that – an opt-in, opt-out system.

However, I do strongly recommend hot-stamped leather goods, such as those from The Daily Edited (TDE) or Monpurse.

Whilst some may not see these small leather goods (SLG’s) as ‘luxury’, the concept of luxury is highly subjective. I personally conceptualise hot-stamped leather goods as luxury items, as you would not be hard pressed to find similar items, that are of similar quality (without inscriptions) at a significantly lower price. My previous blog post, titled Personalising a Trend: Monogram, further details why monogram leather should be on every luxury lover’s radar.

7. What is a piece that you think is over-hyped?

I echo the sentiments of near all YouTubers and bloggers who have answered this question – anything that is commonly peddled by bloggers and online influencers tend to be over-hyped.

The Gucci Dionysus, Celine Trio and Chloe Faye are some examples of bags I would veer away from.

Further, I would not recommend investing in Louboutin. I struggle to reconcile a designer who openly affirms that these expensive shoes are not to be worn frequently. On the basis of both comfort and your hip-pocket – veer away.

8. What is next on your wish list?

I adore and have been eyeing off the Zimmermann Circular Link bag. What I appreciate most is the quality of the leather, the attention to detail with the finish and the fact that I am yet to see another sporting this bag.

Further, I am seriously considering the Valentino Rockstud Heel. Whilst I
recognise that I am incredibly late to the Valentino party and that to some they are so ‘three seasons ago’, I would love to expand my luxury shoe collection with these beauties.

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Plump, Feather & Lift: Cosmetic Procedures

I have always been comfortable with how I look.

Whilst I am no Delta Goodrem or Anna Heinrich, I am me.

Content.

A solid 7/10

Yes, I would benefit from losing a bit, or a lot, of weight. My eyebrows could be thicker (darn you eyebrow lady) and I should show more self-control with my foods. I should also wake-up earlier to do my makeup and be more frequent with my annual brushing of hair.

But that’s ok.

I am still content enough to give myself a wink in the mirror.

*You alright girl, you alright*

I have never questioned my aesthetic worth and the thought of drastically altering my appearance was foreign to me. Heck, I even wrote multiple blog posts about the value of appreciating different standards of beauty at Globalisation, Media Flows and the Illusion of Beauty. I have always been a great appreciator of beauty in its natural form.

With that said, you could only imagine the looks on my mother’s and boyfriend’s faces respectively, as I toyed with the idea of undergoing various beauty procedures. My mother gave me a look of concern. A look that epitomized ‘you are a stranger to me’. My boyfriend on the other hand insisted that ‘I am the most beautiful woman on earth’, as he does in his endearing and impassioned plea for me to veer away from these choices.

I on the other hand, saw no wrong.

My motivation was not that I was unhappy with my look, instead I wanted to enhance my beauty through lip injections, feathered eyebrows, lifted/permed eyelashes, etc. After all, I merely indulge in a manicure and pedicure every fortnight. I felt like in comparison to other women, I wasn’t trying hard enough. I was too low maintenance. Too basic – in this generation, a cardinal sin.

I continued to scower the internet and debate whether I was willing to risk a botched procedure for perfectly plump lips, whether I was willing to risk painfully unnatural eyebrows for a beauty fad that might not last. I thought I was ready and willing until  my partner, who is usually genuinely the most accommodating and supportive person, sent me a frustrated message questioning where did this desire come from?

I couldn’t answer.

I appreciate that undergoing procedures is a deeply personal thing. No one should hold you accountable for your decisions, but his question struck a chord with me.

There is nothing wrong with me.

I was always happy being me.

I have two eyes to see, working limbs and as I know, my body is healthy – a lot more than others who are less blessed can say.

This is what I find worrisome.

With all the hype around the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge and lip fillers, the western world is beginning to accept and perceive face altering procedures as the norm. Whilst women (and men alike) should rightfully have bodily autonomy and not be criticised for their decisions, I question whether we are unduly pressuring young people to believe that they are not good enough without injecting, cutting, lazering or tattooing themselves?

Big lips aren’t anything new, whether they’re natural, surgically altered or a product of clever makeup skills. That young people and others now see this as a feature worth copying when it’s on Kylie Jenner’s face sends a message about whose bodies are valued versus whose bodies aren’t.

Problems with our Fascination with Kylie Jenner’s Lips

Forgive me if I sound like a prude, which I honestly am not, but there is cause for alarm when the administering of lip injectables are trending on Instagram.

Power to you if that’s what you’re all about.

I do not judge you or think any differently of you. Choosing to undergo a semi-invasive treatment is a choice you make to feel better about yourself. My real qualm pertains to everyday lay-beings, being held to the standard of semi-artifical beauty that historically only celebrities and movie stars attained. The million dollar industry question is – are cosmetic procedures being normalised for young people?

Overwhelminly, I attribute this change in culture to the experiences and beauty standards ff6ef41e961eeb535f11b64d8777acebof the minority, being aired on social media with overwhelming support. The likes of beauty bloggers and lifestyle queens (and kings), such as Chloe Morello and Lauren Curits, who are drastically altering their look and speaking openly about it. These influencers often attain their noteriety for their aesthetic and the subsequent beauty advice they provide. I do however, appreciate the honesty of few who share their honest experiences with their following, such as Lauren Curtis’ lip injection experience. By transerantly sharing the highs and lows of the overall experience, the vast majority of people influenced to undertake this procedure are prompted to consider the risks thoroughly.

At the end of the day, all I can provide you with is this; you are unique and beautiful, irrespective of your uneven skin pigment, or over-plucked eyebrows, the unwanted hair and/or your thin lips. There is a distinct beauty in everyone, even if you do not conform to generic standards of beauty.

Whether you choose to alter that beauty or not is an inherently person choice – but never forget that you are so much more than your appearance. This is what I needed to hear when flippantly considering semi-invasive beauty enhancement procedures.

Don’t try to be some Instagram star.

You be you.

God knows, no one else can.

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