What I Wore: Weekend Vibes

15 October 2017

Weekend Vibes

Hello hello!

Today I’m sharing a few of my fashion goals for Spring —

1) Reach for my red lipstick!

I always buy more reds, hoping I’ll find the perfect red and hoping I’ll wear them more. But alas, I keep reaching for my nudes.

2) Reach for my fun/interesting/different shoes.

Flip flops are out.

3) Denim denim denim.

Not going to win any fashion awards here. I’m going to try to DIY some of my old denim pieces.

4) Reach for more colour and patterns.

I’m trying to wear at least one colour item. I think this includes the red lipstick.

5) Try not to buy so much fast fashion

I’m trying to buy better quality, timeless styles that I can wear season after season.

Weekend Vibes

As for today, it’s the weekend and I’m wearing red lipstick, denim, and quirky shoes:

White One Shoulder Top from ASOS Sale – Lovely, simple top. It’s cotton, so it needs a good iron before I wear it. Light, breezy and versatile, it’s such a great top for summer!

Candice GRLFRND Jeans from Revolve – Love these jeans!

Tibi Slingback Heels from Shopbop – Aaah these feel so amazing on my feet! More affordable version here and here, both from ASOS, but I don’t know about comfort.

Round Straw Bali Bag from Kinilush – I first saw this bag while I was in Bali last year. Should have bought it then! This one is handmade in Indonesia, with a leather strap. Super cute!

Have a fab week ahead!


 

Backyard Activities: The Tinkering Project

14 October 2017

Shed Mess 2017

During the school holidays, we like to “force” our kids to be bored and to tinker.

We like to entertain them with directed, long term projects… to combat the ol’ screen obsession thing.

I don’t take any credit for this. This is all my husband’s doing. His brain is just bursting with these weird and wonderful ideas. I suspect these are the things he did as a kid? Which are far cooler than what I did as a kid (I played with Barbie dolls).

He takes the kids to the junkyard to pick up old computers and old microwaves to take apart.

He gives them some tools, then he walks away.

Liam Disassembling Project

We have a Messy Area in our backyard, which is, why yes, messy all the time.

My 8 year old started on “his” computer. He was pretty excited to get stuck into it.

Liam Disassembling Project

We let them work on their project for however long they want.

They can cut, poke, stab, pry, crack, smash, break… anything they want.

They can sort items, build something, connect something, try to put it back together, or just take it to pieces.

They are always FULL of interesting questions by the end of it.

Liam Disassembling Project

We (ie. my husband) are pretty good at answering their questions about computer parts, metals, electricity, connections, and how things work.

But we also let them watch YouTube videos on: How to take computers apart. How does a cooling fan work? Which metal conducts electricity better? How are alloy metals made? Etc etc.

(There is soooo much interesting/wacky/niche video content on the internet! It’s part scary and part fascinating.)

Shed Mess 2017

I think the kids enjoy it all. I wouldn’t say they LOOOOVED it.

I suspect they would rather be playing computer games.

But they can get pretty absorbed by it. And 2 hours can pass by quickly.

(Which is 2 hours NOT on a computer game.)

Shed Mess 2017

This is one of my older boys, cutting up an old bike.

They are harvesting bits of aluminium for another project (please don’t ask!)

It keeps their fingers and brains busy – it’s awesome!.


 

Quick Chocolate Granola

12 October 2017

Chocolate Granola

Hi everyone, after so many requests I’m sharing my chocolate granola recipe – again!

The recipe is slightly different, I just use smaller portions, so it makes 4 cups of granola.

This way, it fits on two baking trays, takes 10 minutes to make, 10 minutes to bake and 1.5 hours to cool.

And I can store it in an easy-to-manage 1L glass jar (stays crunchy for longer).

(My other recipe took up 4 baking trays, I had to bake it in 2 batches and it took me HOURS to get it all baked and crunchy! Who’s got time for that?! I also bake this batch hotter and for less time.)

Quick Chocolate Granola 

2 cups of rolled oats
1/2 cup of almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 cup of walnuts (or pecans), roughly chopped
1 cup of mixed seeds (pepitas, chia seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds)

1/3 cup of coconut oil
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
1/3 cup of maple syrup (or have zero sugar)
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla essence

(Makes about 4 cups of granola.)

1. Pre-heat oven to 150C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

2. Put coconut oil, cocoa powder, maple syrup and vanilla essence in a small saucepan and stir slowly over low heat until smooth.

3. Mix the oats, almonds and walnuts in large bowl. Pour in the chocolate mixture in and stir until all the dry ingredients are well coated.

4. Divide the mixture up onto the 2 baking trays. Bake for 10 minutes. Then turn off the oven and leave the granola in the hot oven for another 30 minutes.

6. Take the pans out of the oven, let it cool completely in the pan (about 1 hour). It will harden and crisp up as it cools.

7. Store in a large, air tight container and enjoy for breakfast, snacks or dessert (served with ice cream!)

* Note you might want to check on your granola as it bakes, as some ovens run hotter or cooler, so you don’t want to burn all your expensive nuts/seeds!

Enjoy!


 

My Skin Journey: After 6 Months

11 October 2017

Hi everyone!

Months ago I shared the start of my 30s skin journey – I talked about seeing a dermatologist, discovering the amazing results of prescription Vitamin A and I chose not to have any laser done.

Instead of laser, I decided to have Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT) for my acne scars at Iconic Medispa in South Perth.

Here’s my initial blog post about CIT, where I explain the details of the treatment and my experience of the whole process.

For me, blemishes, redness and pigmentation were easy to cover up with makeup. So I wanted to target my acne scars, large pores and skin texture – but my overall results were soooo much better than I expected.

I never thought I’d be one to put such close up photos of my face on my blog, but there you go.

Everyone (including me) loves a good before and after photo!

Results are everything!

Read the rest of this entry »


 

What I Wore: Grey Blazer and Sling Backs

9 October 2017

Grey Blazer + Sling Backs

My $1 op-shopped jacket has been getting a really good work out lately. It’s a great alternative to my denim jacket or my slouchy knit cardigan.

I wore this out to a “meeting” the other day, which was really just a casual brunch with some clients/girlfriends, where we talked about work, skincare, arm toning, and having to explain cocktail names to kids.

Basically I was waaaay over dressed, and I seriously looked like I needed to work 15 years in an office to get over my whole office chic thing – ha!

I may not be on my way to being a millionaire… but doing a job I love and working with such inspiring, good-hearted, generous, and funny people makes my world go around!

Grey Blazer + Sling Backs

Outfit:

Cue Grey Blazer (op-shopped)

Uniqlo White Tee

Frame Le Color Skinny Jeans (wearing size 25, bought 2 years ago, they are still stark black and still have an amazing fit. One of my best jeans ever!)

3.1 Phillip Lim Soleil Bag from Shopbop

Tibi Slingback Heels from Shopbop


 

10 Things: How I Make Time to Read

6 October 2017

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Phew I finally finished reading Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. I’ve been reading it for 7 months haha!

In that time I also managed to read 2 other books though.

My thoughts: Wacky and quirky. First 2/3 was veeeery slooooow to get through. Last 1/3 was absolutely brilliant. It was so so funny and wicked at the end. I burst out laughing so many times (I almost never do that!).

Why did I read it?

I think I mentioned this before. I’m trying to read more classic literature – because I like reading, because FOMO, and because I scroll through so much crap on the internet, I really need to do something tricky and challenging for my brain.

I’m working my way down a “Best Novels of All Time” list. Actually I’m picking my way through the list.

My husband read this novel in high school, this was his copy, and it was on our shelf.

I tend to alternate a Classic Novel with a Modern Novel. I haven’t had much luck with the modern novels though.

So this is how I fit more reading into my life:

1) I just aim to read 2 pages every night. Sometimes I will read 2 pages or sometimes 16 page. Occasionally I’ll read 1/2 of a novel in one sitting.

2) Carry a book in my car or my handbag. While I’m waiting for someone (my kids) or something to finish (sports training), instead of being on my phone, I try to read a few pages of my book.

3) Leave books lying around the house. I like to make cute stacks. I like to collect nice cover editions.

4) Fill my spare moments with reading. When I’ve got a few minutes up my sleeve, I try to make a point to NOT reach for my smartphone, and reach for my book instead.

5) Read the book before I watch the movie. As a result, I have not watched a lot of movies haha.

6) Track my reading with Goodreads. It’s so good! I can track when I start a book and which books I’ve read in what order. It’s like tracking my running.

7) Read while doing something else that I like doing. I like to drink coffee, tea and eat snacks haha.

8) Join a bookclub or make book-nerd friends. Ok I’m not in a bookclub. But I have friends who read a lot. So I’m constantly swapping books or talking about books. And my husband is a total book-nerd too.

9) Buy cool books. I like buying books, especially from op-shops. I’m totally addicted to scoring a winning book for $2.

10) Make a list. My To-Read list is a combination of “Best books of all time”… “Best Books of 19th / 20th Century”… “Award winning books” and “Oprah’s Recommendations”.

What am I reading now?

Last year I read 13 books (a record for me!) you can see my up-to-date reading list here. Please join and be my friend on Goodreads (do I sound desperate? that’s because I am! I want to know what everyone is reading right now!)

This year I’ve only read 6 so far, but I’m cool with that.

I’ve started to read The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I’m only a few chapters in and it is an amazing read so far. I’m actually find it humourous at the moment, because it draws so many parallels with the modern day obsession with the Selfie and Instagram?!


 

Review: Sudio Wireless On-Ear Headphones

30 September 2017

Brought to you by Sudio Sweden

Travelling with Sudio Regent

A couple of weeks ago, I headed off for a girls weekend by the beach!

I planned to have a few hours to myself before meeting my girlfriends, so I packed a few essential items for some ME TIME – yippee!

It was extra fun because I was able to test out my new Wireless On-Ear Headphones sent to me for review by the kind folk at Sudio Sweden.

I ended up in a cafe over looking the beach. I sipped on a coffee, put my feet up, and sat back with a book and my headphones. It was so good!

Style and Price

Firstly these headphones look great. They have a retro / minimal / sleek feel to them, which I adore.

They don’t look ultra-modern, or straight from a sci-fi, space movie, which I don’t adore.

They are priced at AUD $129, which sits nicely between “cheap and cheerful” and “OMG $600 for a pair of headphones are you kidding me??”.

The price also makes it a nice gift.

What’s the Sound Quality Like?

Let me just put this out there. I’m no tech reviewer. And I have never worn a pair of super high-quality, on-ear, wireless headphones before, so I don’t actually know what to compare it with. If you’re a music or sound expert, feel free to poo-poo me.

However I have worn cheap $30 on-ear headphones from Target… and even I think they are just terrible for their sound quality.

These Sudio headphones are far far faaaaaaar better than those $30 headphones. These are amazing! My music sounds great!

If this is $129 worth of sound quality, how can the sound get any better than this?? I’d be very interested to hear what $600 of sound quality is like?! This sounds pretty good to me. I’m pretty happy with the quality.

Travelling with Sudio Regent

Material Quality

The head phones and head band are both padded and covered by a soft leatherette kind of material that feels really nice, smooth and soft to touch.

The head band is adjustable. They are very comfortable to wear. The ear phones collapse and fold inwards to make it more compact for storage. The ear caps are interchangeable. The parts move nicely and smoothly. The whole thing feels like a good quality, stylish product.

Everyday Usage

Once I read the instructions (two sentences!), they were very easy to use and pair up to all my devices via bluetooth.

They are very easy to transport. I just threw them into my bag and off I went. The don’t have any shiny surfaces, so I’m not worried about them getting scratched.

Apparently they have a 24 hour battery life, but I haven’t actually tested that, as I always keep them charged.

They are great for when I work on the computer at home. It blocks out so much more noise than my regular ear pods! I can’t hear my kids! It’s great!

The headband is nice and firm, so they don’t flip off if I walk or move or bend down to pick something off the ground.

Cons

I’m struggling to find some fault in these headphones….

Perhaps after wearing them for a long time, I find that I’m not used to the pressure of the headphones over my ears and I feel a bit light headed? But that’s because I have sensitive inner ears. So probably not a concern for most people.

Best thing about them:

Nothing says “Do Not Disturb” like a pair of over-ear headphones haha!

Special Discount

The lovely team at Sudio have given me a 15% off discount to share with my readers.

Simply use the coupon code “KARENLYCHENG” at the checkout. Express Shipping is FREE worldwide.

So with my code, these headphones will only cost AUD $110, which is pretty sweet.

These headphones are called “Regent” and come in black and white.

Hope you find this review to be helpful!

Enjoy!

xxx


 

What I Wore: Grey Blazer and Flares

29 September 2017

Grey Blazer + Flares

Hi everyone, today I’m sharing few new things that have landed in my wardrobe recently.

Op Shopped Grey Blazer

During the last few weeks, I had been on a mission to go op shopping to buy myself a grey blazer.

You see, a long time ago, I bought myself a grey boyfriend blazer that fit me perfectly. But earlier this year, during a wardrobe clean out, I decided I wasn’t getting any wear out of it, and gave it away to the Salvation Army.

So you can imagine how hard I face-palmed myself when I realised that grey blazers were coming back into the street style fashion scene. Sigh.

Anyway, back to op shopping. You may have been following my shopping adventures on my Instagram stories, and you may have noticed how many racks of grey brazers there are in this world. So if you’re thinking of buying one, please head out to your local op shop and look there first!

I went to 4-5 op shops and from what I saw, you could pick up pretty good quality jackets by Country Road, Witchery, David Jones, Sussan, Table Eight, Basque, Cue, Marcs… from $15 – $5. Then you can get it dry cleaned for around $15 – $12. There were so many in size 8, 10, 12,14 and 16. I was looking for a size 6, which are a bit harder to find.

As for this grey blazer that I bought, it is by Cue and it’s in perfect condition. It was a perfect fit for me, perfect colour and pinstripe, and it was selling for a grand total of $1! The lining, fabric, cut and style were just amazing. It would have been $250 brand new.

It’s even better than my original grey blazer! Woo hoo!

Grey Blazer + Flares

Flared pants from Revolve

I find it so hard to buy pants online. But I was very keen on these flares, so I took a bit of a risk and guessed to buy a size XS.

Suffice to say, these are one of the most comfortable pants I’ve ever owned!

They are by Lovers & Friends and the exact style has been sold out. However they have released some new styles, Carmelita Flares (extra ruffly), Slash Pants (I also wanted these), Calista Pants (very sexy!).

I am wearing the XS and I had to take mine to a tailor to get about 15cm taken off – because I’m really short!

As much as I love my luxe fabrics, these poly blends are pretty amazing. They are soft, comfortable, breathable, strong, stretchy, forgiving, so robust and so easy to wear. Plus they don’t crease at all, so I can store them over a hanger, grab them in a hurry, chuck them on and elevate my whole outfit in 5 seconds.

Silk Camisole by Grana – This one is has a nice neckline and I don’t have to iron it every time I wear it!

Dahlia Shoes by Wittner – They also come in Navy + White Stars and Nude + Gold Stars.

SkinnyDip Clutch from ASOS – Love this little clutch to add a bit of fun and colour to my outfit!

Have a great weekend everyone! Hope you have lots planned!

xxx


 

New In: Sling Backs and Kitten Heels

28 September 2017

Shopbop Tibi End of Season Sale -

Love them or hate them… sling back heels and kitten heels are in for the next few seasons.

I used to LOVE wearing my kitten heeled shoes! I’m so happy they’ve come back in fashion!

I decided to dive straight in and purchase these beautiful Lia Slingback Pumps by Tibi, courtesy of Shopbop.

I actually spotted the exact shoes in Zara for a quarter of the price, although the leather was crinkled and shiny. I tried the Zara ones on, wore them around the shop and they were quite stiff to walk in and they cut into the sides of my feet and my heels.

I knew if I bought them, I wouldn’t wear them much and I’d be wearing/buying them just for photo shoots and Instagram?!? Haha I didn’t want to do that, so I decided to get the real deal from Shopbop.

Omg these Tibi shoes are just divine!

The leather is so soft and supple. They feel like soft gloves on my feet. The kitten heel makes them so wearable and comfortable for everyday wear. They look a bit quirky and different. I absolutely want to wear them with everything – jeans, culottes, skirts.

Good news is that Shopbop is having it’s End of The Season Sale offering 20% off orders under $500 and 25% off orders $500 or more. Simply use the code “EOTS17″ at the checkout. Includes full priced and sale items.

There are a few brand exclusions, but the available brands and products will be marked with the EOTS17 label.

Here are a few of my favourite brands from Shopbop, that are included in the sale:

Alexander Wang – For statement handbags
A.P.C – For lovely, leather bags with Parisian casual-cool
Aquazzura – For amazing, statement heels
Charlotte Olympia – For those classic kitty flats!
Diane von Furstenberg – For classic wrap dresses
Equipment – For beautiful silk shirts
Lover – For beautiful lace dresses
P.E Nation – For much coveted activewear
Rag & Bone/Jean – For classic leather boots, shoes and jeans
Rails – For lovely, checked shirts
Repetto – For classic ballet flats
Schutz – For excellent quality on-trend shoes
Self Portrait – For beautiful statement dresses
Tibi – For beautiful quality everyday basics with a Soho vibe
Zimmermann – For stunning floral dresses

Have fun! Enjoy the sale!

xxx


 

Review: Grana Silk Top, Silk Pants and Silk Bomber

27 September 2017

Grana Silk Review
Hi everyone!

The team at Grana sent me some silk pieces to see what I thought about them.

I chose these particular silk pieces, because they look like great basics for Spring and Summer. And yes, I chose all black items (haha!) so I can mix and match them easily with the rest of my wardrobe. Today I’m reviewing :

1) Silk Round Neck Camisole
2) Silk Flat Front Ankle Pants
3) Silk Bomber

You can read my original review here, where I compared Grana silks with some of my silk tops from Equipment, Isabel Marant, Tibi and a few others.

Basically, a lot of Grana silk pieces are made from “Crepe De Chine Silk”, which feels slightly velvety and textured (kind of similar to my Equipment Signature shirt). Some other Grana silk pieces are “Silk Georgette”, which feels a bit more slippery and satiny… so it depends on which “feel” you like.

In terms of cost, Grana are transparent with their markups and their manufacturing journey from fabric mills to production to shipping directly from their warehouse, fair labour conditions and ethical workplace environments. So even though their prices seem unusually cheap, I do feel pretty good about spending my money there. I’m a bit of a fan.

Grana Silk Review
1) Silk Round Neck Camisole – Firstly, omg this silk tank is only AU $62.

In terms of stitching, drape, seams, feel of the fabric, thickness, weight of fabric… it is really good quality. It’s made from Grana’s crepe de chine silk and it is so much nicer than silk from high street stores like Zara, H&M, Topshop, Sportsgirl.

In the past I have picked out size XS for Grana silk camisoles, as I’m usually a Size AU6.

But for some reason I decided to go with XXS and yep, it was a tiny bit small and tight across the bust/chest for me. You probably can’t see it in the photo, but it pinches me a little under the arms if I move my arms forward in a certain way.

I should have double checked the “Garment Size Chart” — oops! Ahh, it looks fine most of the time, and it’s still pretty comfortable, so I decided not to return it.

The top half of the camisole has a double lining of silk, which adds a nice weight to it.

I can comfortably wear a strapless bra with it, and it doesn’t peek out at the sides.

It’s a lovely basic top to have in my wardrobe.

Not so great things about it:

– It’s not BLACK black. Because of the “velvety” silk, the black colour is more like a faded dark grey.

– This top has a round neck front and racerback style back. However I already have a “Racerback Silk Camisole” by Grana (this one) which has a slightly different front, and a similar racerback style back. So they are quite similar.

I felt that maybe this Round Neck top should also have a “round neck” back to make it a more classic style?? (I just read the product page and this top is actually a “restyle” of the original “Racerback Silk Camisole”. So if you already have the Racerback Silk Cami, maybe you don’t need this one??)

– My wardrobe is quite FULL and all my clothes kind of PRESS together haha. So this silk top tends to crease (just a soft, floppy kind of buckle) that I have to steam out every time I wear it! Other’s might not be so fussy about soft, floppy buckles! It’s a bit annoying, but hey it’s silk. First world problem, sorry.

Nothing else to fault. It’s fantastic for it’s price!

Grana Silk Review

Grana Silk Review

2) Silk Flat Front Ankle Pants – These pants sell for AU$95, which is great value for simple, good quality silk pants.

I like that they are just plain pants, with a tailored look. No frills, no added details. They are slightly high-waisted and have an elastic waist, which is very comfortable, kind of makes me feel like I’m wearing pyjamas.

I’m wearing size XS Short. They are a PERFECT leg length for me (I’m 160cm). They are really comfortable to wear and move around in.

However, when I pull them up, I stretch the waistband fully and they *just* manage to stretch over my bottom. Stretching them to their maximum capacity makes me feel that I might tear or over-stretch them, and I think that maybe I need a bigger size?!

But once the pants are on my waist, tummy, hips and bottom, they are a perfect fit. I don’t feel that I  need a bigger size. I really like them.

Again they are made from Grana’s crepe de chine silk, and they are pretty strong and robust for pants. I like to sit cross legged on my office chair, and I can do that in these pants haha.

I actually have the Silk Ankle Pants (in white) which has a rouched front and it looks more casual. I like the Flat Front ones better, as I like the tailored look more.

Not so great things about it:

– They are not BLACK black. Because of the “velvety” silk, the black colour is more like a faded dark grey.

– Waistband is pretty tight to get over my bottom.

– They need a bit of a steam before I were them.

Overall, these pants get me on price and comfort.

I went to a few designer boutiques last month to do some window shopping. I tried on some silk pants and culottes. Yes their silk were thicker and felt more luxurious, but they were $700-$900 – eeek, way too expensive for me.

Grana Silk Review

3) Silk Bomber – This silk bomber is AU $178 and made from 22mm Silk Georgette Satin shell, 12mm Silk Satin Lining and 100% Cotton Rib for cuffs, collar and hem.

Initially I wasn’t keen on bomber jackets. I have so many blazers and knit cardigans that I really didn’t need another light weight jacket.

But because of the bomber shape and the 100% silk fabric, it has a really nice casual luxe look to it that sits nicely between “smart” and “casual” and I’m totally sold now. I really, really like it!

The silk is amazing for a jacket. It’s very robust, smooth and a bit matte (I don’t really like satin jackets). It feels so much nicer than polyester!

I don’t need to constantly steam the creases out of it every time I want t wear it.

It is BLACK black, which looks great.

Quality, stitching, seams, garment weight, fabric feel, thickness – all fabulous.

I chose the XXS, which fits well, makes me look slim and petite. But when zipped up, it is a bit tight at my waist and it rides up to give me a cropped look.

So I should have gotten a size up (XS) for a more relaxed and roomy fit.

Not so great things about it:

– I’m not crazy about the zipper. It’s a little “rough” to zip up or down. Not that I’ll be zipping it up or down very often. It’s NOT scratchy, sharp or rough to touch. When you look at the zip up close, the stitching, the seams and shape of the metal zips all look absolutely high quality. But if you look at it from far, I think it looks a little too shiny and hints at being a bit cheap. Maybe it’s the way the zip line bends?

– The price might be a bit high for most people (I think?). The fact that you could probably buy a very similar jacket from Zara, Topshop, H&M, Sportsgirl, or Witchery for the same price or less… might turn people away. I guess you would have to be looking for a good quality bomber jacket that was made by a brand, who prides itself as having an ethical manufacturing process, to feel that this jacket was worth its price, maybe?

Anyway, despite that, I still would LOVE to have this bomber in Bright Green. It’s on the wishlist. I might wait for the sale?

In the meantime, my black one looks awesome with skinny jeans, a white tee and some heels!

10% Discount + Free Shipping

If you’re a new customer, you can get a 10% Discount off your order and Free Shipping, just use my code “KARENxGRANA” at the checkout.

Phew. Hope you enjoyed my review!

You can read some more of my Grana reviews here >


 

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