May Coffee Catch Up

26 May 2017

Flowers in the Garden

Hello hello! So what has been happening in Karen-land?

1) My kids. Ok. Wow. We are not friends. They are the worst. Seriously, how many times do I have to tell them to do something? How hard is it to do their daily jobs? Why do they have to leave a trail of crap lying around EVERYWHERE!! Why can’t they pick up after themselves?? Nag nag nag scold scold scold punish punish punish. That is my life.

I love them and all that, but they also give me the shits.

2) Work is intense! I’m on the verge of losing my shit. Not quite there yet though. I’m going away on holiday for 4 weeks in July and I’ve been trying to fit 3 months of work (May, June, June) into 1 month (May). It’s the end of the month now. I couldn’t do it. The kids head off to school around 8 – 8:30am. I jump on the computer. Then suddenly 6 hours are gone. My desk is littered with 3 empty cups of coffee, empty snack bowls, papers, pens, cameras, SD cards everywhere! It’s 2:30pm and I have to pick up my youngest from school and switch back into mum-mode. There are just not enough hours in a day.

Actually, to be honest, I probably could have done it if I neglected the other ares of my life! I still made time for exercise, cooking meals for my family, home chores, hanging out with my kids, having coffee with my sister and girlfriends, and date night with my husband. I have to keep my sanity!

3) My grandma is sick. Despite my busy schedule, my mountain of work, my long list of things to do, and this tight grip of anxiety in my chest… I’ve been popping into hospital to visit my sick grandma. She’s 97. Over the last 10 years, she’s had heart surgery, a broken hip, problems with her kidneys and other things, but she always bounced right back. I’m in awe at her strength and good spirits.

Sitting next to her, holding her hand, feeding her spoonfuls of water, helping her change position in bed, marvelling at the 97 years of her life, humbled by the loooong queue of people coming to visit her… all my anxieties melt away and what is really important in life becomes crystal clear: human contact, connections with people, family and friends, healthy relationships, smiles, laughter and being easy-going, kind and gracious (like my grandma!).

4) My inbox. This morning I woke up to see that my inbox had clocked over 2,000 unopened emails. It was the last straw. One hour later, there were ZERO unopened emails. I know. I am amazing. However, there are about 900 flagged emails that I have to work through, gulp.

5) My skin! Oh my gosh! I’ve had a few non-invasive treatments called Collagen Induction Therapy (or Skin Needling) and my skin is looking so radiant at the moment. So much of my pigmentation is gone. Can wait to share the before and after photos!

6) Rooibos. I am trying oh-so hard to cut back on my caffeine. I could easily drink 4-5 cups of coffee each day. My main problem is that I want to drink something warm and milky (soy or almond milk) all the time. So I’ve discovered the joys of Rooibos + Vanilla Tea… which tastes like a mild chai tea, and it’s a pretty good substitute for now.

7) Uggs. I bought myself a pair of Ugg Boots for the first time in 10 years. How did I EVER live without them? They are not the official Ugg boots (which cost $220). They were just fur lined boots from Target. They are soooo warm, soooo snuggly and soooo comfy, that I shed a little tear when I have to take them off to pick up the kids from school. One day. I can feel it coming. One day, I will go “Stuff It” and wear my Ugg boots to school pick up.

8) My taste in music. Quite frankly, it’s embarrassing. You’d think that with my affinity for classic literature, I’d have a broad and quirky taste in music. Nope. My boys and I are addicted to Spotify and the Global Top 50 Charts…. and I am seriously crushing Harry Styles right now. I like Drake, The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, The Chainsmokers, the new song by Charlie Puth, Shawn Mendes, Niall Horan (how good is his new song?!), Hailee Seinfeld, Selena Gomez… omg I even like Justin Bieber.

I have the same music taste as my 8 year old – HAHA!

(Except he likes Ed Sheeran and I don’t.)

9) Behind the times. So my husband and I watched the very first episode of “Breaking Bad” the other day. It was great! It was first aired in 2008, so we’re only 9 years behind the times.

10) More on music. Ok you know what? I do like my 90s old school rap, hiphop, R&B, grunge, electronic music, …Radiohead, Beastie Boys, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Prodigy, Massive Attack, Chemical Brothers, Metallica, The Smashing Pumpkins, 50 Cent, TLC, Blackstreet, Lauryn Hill… and all the classic hip hop pop tunes!

My music taste isn’t thaaaaaat bad, right?!

We were supposed to test out our camping equipment this weekend, but we postponed it to next weekend. I feel like I’ve been gifted an extra week of prep!

Wishing you all a lovely weekend!

xxx


 

What I Wore: Tularosa Berkley Dress

24 May 2017

Tularosa + Aquazzura

I swooned over this vintage-inspired Berkley Dress by Tularosa for ages!

I first saw it worn by the gorgeous Negin Mirsalehi (last year) but it was sold out. Oh well, not to be. But I recently spotted it back in stock and I grabbed it while it was available (courtesy of Revolve)!

While I might not be a bronze Persian beauty like Negin, I love that I can make this dress my own.

I love it’s delicate, yet natural feel. I love the soft, gathered fabric, the fluted sleeves, the panels of embroidery and the overall nod to boho, French countryside. It is just adorable!

 

Tularosa + Aquazzura

I’m wearing the XS and it has a strangely small head hole.

At first I thought it was a mistake, but I read a few reviews and a few people mentioned it too. I have to cover my head with a thin scarf and then gently give it a firm tug to get it over my head. Then I have to rearrange my hair and double-check my makeup after that too! It was very weird.

It fits perfectly every where else though!

I’m thinking I could wear it over-the-knee boots for the cooler evenings, or hey, just wear it with jeans and sneakers :)


 

Outfit Planning: Wedding Guest Looks

22 May 2017

In collaboration with Shopbop, I’ve put together THREE wedding guest looks to share with you all.

I have two weddings coming up this year and I’m eagerly putting my outfit ideas together!

I’ve chosen three Self Portrait dresses, because you can’t go wrong with a drop-dead gorgeous lace dress.

Any one of them is an amazing addition to your wardrobe, as you can wear it as a wedding guest, a fancy Christmas party, a cocktail function, an awards dinner, a special occasion high tea, and a special birthday dinner at a nice restaurant.

That’s six wears already! Think about that cost per wear!

Shopbop Wedding Guest Looks

Self Portrait Laelia Dress – This soft purple is just magical!

Kenneth Jay Lane Dangling Sphere Earrings – I think crystal chandelier earrings are a little dated, so I’d try to keep my look modern with these dangling orb earrings, or something similar.

Furla Metropolis Mini Cross Body Bag – In this case, I’d chose a neutral and simple looking clutch to let my dress and shoes stand out.

Rochas Flat Slides – This pastel coloured dress has the potential to look washed out. So I’d wear metallic or silver statement shoes to add some cool to it. OKok maybe I wouldn’t wear these Rochas silver slides, but they look so awesome.

Shopbop Wedding Guest Looks

Self Portrait Azalea Dress (Burgundy) – Oooh I loooove this dress! I prefer this deep red colour rather than the bright red version.

Native Gem Blast Earrings – I’d definitely choose gold tassel earrings or these sparkly pointy drop earrings. Something that drops down vertically.

Star Mela Malu Embroidered Clutch – I love the idea of a colourful clutch with floral notes, and this embroidered clutch goes perfectly with the dress. I think it’d look much more interesting than a gold clutch.

Aquazzura Sexy Thing Cutout Booties – With bling on the ears and colour on your wrist, it’s best to match the outfit with a nude, understated heel. A classic indeed!

Shopbop Wedding Guest Looks

Self Portrait Azalea Dress (Navy) – The burgundy version of this dress is my first pick. My second pick is this navy colour. That guipure lace is simply stunning.

Elizabeth Cole Georgy Earrings – I picked out some crazy statement earrings to bring some fun into the outfit! Love these sassy flamingoes! They would look awesome with an all black or all white outfit too.

See by Chloe Nora Clutch – This understated box clutch works well to tone the outfit down – after all, bold floral lace and flamingo bling is pretty clashy.

Schutz Cadey Lee Sandals – And again, a simple pair of strappy nude heels will keep things classy. I own a pair of these Cadey Lee Sandals and wear them all the time. It’s a fab wardrobe staple.

Hope you enjoy my outfits and find some kind of inspiration!

Have a great week!

xxx


 

The Goods Shed: Painting Power. Ritual, Art & Land

19 May 2017

Painting Power, at The Good Shed

This week, I popped over to Claremont to The Goods Shed, a new creative space for art exhibitions, installations, artist residencies, community and learning events.

It occupies a renovated heritage railway building – which is very cool – a little landscaped garden, a cafe and an outside sitting area.

I went to an event there a few months ago and I loved the space! So I followed them on Instagram and have since received little updates on events… including this art exhibition, which caught my eye and made me immediately scribble the details into my calendar:

Painting Power | Ritual, Art & Land.

It is a collection of paintings by Indigenous artists from the remote art centres of  Tjala Arts, Warlukurlangu Artists of Yuendumu, Ikuntji Artists, Martumili Arts, Mimili Maku Arts and Munupi Arts.

According to the information panels: The exhibition explores the relationship between the power of nature and the energy of ritual traditions. It considers the significance of art to Aboriginal life and its role as a bridge between the physical and spiritual realms as a way of expressing belief, tradition and contemporary life.

I thought the artworks were absolutely BEAUTIFUL!

Painting Power, at The Good Shed

Antara by Puna Yanima (From Mimili Maku Arts.)

I think this was my favourite. The selection of colours were stunning and shapes were just full of movement, dance and song!

Antara is a well known and significant rock hole, where women perform a dance ceremony to make witchery grubs for everyone to eat.

Painting Power, at The Good Shed

Kuruyultu by Eunice Napanangka Jack (from Ikuntji Arts)

The artist paints her father’s dreaming story about a group of ancestral men chasing an owl ancestor with a spear and hitting the ground with a digging stick.

I couldn’t quite see the story captured in the painting, as it was a bit abstract. But it was an amazing painting nonetheless!

It was so therapeutic to look at and filled me with a soft, gentle, relaxing feeling, like when I comb my hair or the dirt. Totally not related to the story though haha.

Painting Power, at The Good Shed

Seven Sisters, by Janie Kulyuru Lewis (from Tjala Arts)

That vibrant red is mesmerising. It looked like living, moving blood (not in a gruesome way, but in a life-giving way), or the heartbeat of the earth from above.

Painting Power, at The Good Shed

Untitled, by Mona Mitakiki Shepherd (from Tjala Arts)

Ahh, yet another gorgeous painting with universal appeal. How amazing are these colours and speckled patterns?!

They remind me of the ocean, or fields of flowers. So happy, energetic and full of life.

Painting Power, at The Good Shed

This is the lovely art space of The Goods Shed.

I love the old surfaces of wood and the exposed textures mixed with the clean white lines.

The Good Shed, Claremont

This is outside of the building, where you can grab a coffee from The Coffee Pod Cafe.

It was so nice to sit on the little table and chairs and enjoy the sunshine.

Painting Power, The Good Shed

But this is me with my takeaway coffee about to head back into the gallery for a second look at the paintings. This time I’m not taking photos on my camera or my phone, I’m just looking at them with my own eyes to soak them up properly!

The Goods Shed
Cnr of Shenton Rd and Claremont Cres
Claremont WA 6010

Operating Hours
Monday to Friday: 8am – 3pm
Weekends: 9am – 3pm


 

What I Wore: Blush Off Shoulder Knit

17 May 2017

Blush Off Shoulder Knit

A big trend for the new season is… the statement top.

Think big sleeves, flared sleeves, big ruffles, voluminous shapes, off shoulders, one shoulder, stripes, florals, tassels, bright colours, sheer panels — it’s all about going over the top.

But winter is coming in Australia, and I’m not really an OVER THE TOP kind of person when it comes to my daily dressing.

So here’s how I keep my everyday look fresh — with a Blush Off Shoulder Knit from Majorelle, courtesy of Revolve.

A few weeks ago, I featured the WHITE version of the knit here, and I loved it so much that I picked out the same top in BLUSH.

Strangely, this is a size XS (the white was also XS) and this runs a little big. So the sleeves were a little long and one side tends to fall off my shoulder.

I have to roll up my sleeves and roll up the length for a more polished look, otherwise it looks a little sloppy and slouchy, which is a different look.

Blush Off Shoulder Knit

Other than that, it is a gorgeous trans-seasonal knit!

The colour is just beautiful and so many people mentioned how nice it was when I wore it out. The fabric is soft and luxurious. It drapes and sits really nicely. The clinginess is nice too, it hugs all my curves and looks very flattering.

It’s very easy to wear. I just wear a strapless bra underneath. I give it a gentle hand wash and dry it flat in the shade. I’ve already washed it 3 times and it hasn’t buckled, loosened or lost its shape.

In terms of looking smart for an everyday wardrobe, this Blush Off Shoulder Knit is a winner!

I’m also wearing: Grana Silk Ankle Pants, Stuart Weitzman Heels, A.P.C Half Moon Bag.


 

Steamboat for Mother’s Day

16 May 2017

 

Steamboat - Mothers Day 2017

My husband’s family comes from a conservative Scottish/Anglo background, where dinner is a meat and 3 veg, eaten quietly and properly, with long, slow, in-depth and eloquent conversations about politics, the state of the national education system, Scottish poets, the history of modern customs, or the latest discussions on Q&A.

(Haha I’m slightly exaggerating.)

Whereas my Chinese family is the complete opposite. And there is no better example than the “Family Steamboat Dinner” to illustrate just how completely opposite our families are!

Our dinner table is WILD with sizzle, noise, smells, loud talking, Chinese tea, crazy cooking action and 4 random conversations happening at once, mixed with selfies and sharing silly videos.

While I like the best of both worlds, and try to create a mixed cultural experience for my own family and kids… I still consider my parent’s steamboat dinners to be home.

I took this photo on Mother’s Day at my parent’s house. We were having a steamboat dinner for 13 adults and 7 kids on a separate table. Unfortunately I took it before all the sliced lamb, sliced pork belly, and sliced ox tongue came out… damn, it would’ve looked much more epic!


 

What I Wore: Spotty White Dress

15 May 2017

Shen Spot Dress

A few weeks ago, I featured a pretty, floaty off-shoulder dress.

This week I want to show off a more affordable option and picked out this Spotted Off-Shoulder Dress, courtesy of Shein.

It is a super pretty dress, that is comfortable and fits really well. It is lined throughout (not in the sleeves though) so it isn’t see-through. I received a lot of compliments when I wore it out the other day.

Best thing about it: I didn’t have to iron it and it doesn’t crease easily. I love that! I just pulled it out of the bag, aired it a bit, threw it on and it looked fantastic!

Not so great thing about it: The fabric looks a bit cheap. But the whole garment has a good weight to it, the stitching is good, and the fabric feels nice and soft… so it doesn’t FEEL cheap.

There might also be too much fabric at the waist, because it bunches up and makes my hips and bum look a bit bigger than they are haha. Maybe it would look better if I was taller? Because it doesn’t look that bad on other customer reviews on the site. Or maybe I’m just imagining it because it’s such a flowy and ruffly dress?

I’m wearing the XS and I’m usually a Size AU/UK 6.

Overall, it’s a lovely spring or summer dress to wear to a special occasion.

Check out more Off Shoulder Dresses from Shein. They have lots of cool and affordable styles!

 

Shen Spot Dress

I have to be honest, Shein is potentially quite hit and miss, because their product photos tend to look much better than the actual product. They do have sone good stuff. But you have to look REALLY carefully at customer reviews, customer photos, product photos, product measurements and fabric details. Then google the item for more customer images or blogger reviews.

Shipping also takes some time too. And I’ve read that that returns can be a bit of a headache.

Personally I’ve never had any bad experiences, in fact, I’ve only had excellent shopping experiences and customer service when I’ve bought from them in the past.

I also wore: Meli Melo Rosalia Bag and Tony Bianco Heels.


 

Flowers, Chocolate and Hugs

14 May 2017

Mother's Day 2017

This Mother’s Day, I told my kids that I didn’t want/need a lavish spoiling that took up 5 hours of my weekend!

All I really want is a small, genuine hug from each of my children, every day.

And I already get that. So I’m already pretty happy.

I get a hug and a quick : I love ya mum! Or I appreciate everything you do! Or Thanks for doing all that stuff for me! Sorry for driving you crazy! Thank for filling out those forms! Sorry for that outburst, let me make it up to you. Can I take out the rubbish bag? Thanks for making that milkshake for me! That was a yummy dinner!

In the end, I did get a cooked breakfast (bacon omelette, just how I like it!), some crafty cards, flowers, chocolates, and a deformed lemon coconut  cupcake. Except that it wasn’t a cupcake, it was a BATH BOMB!

Haha it seriously looked like a cupcake to me. I almost ate it!!

As I wrote on my Instagram, I didn’t have a completely stress-free and relaxing day. I still fought with my kids, made them do chores, shouted at them, took away their devices, I still had errands to run, work to catch up on, kids to manage, meals to cook, activities to plan. It was the mum-life as usual. But that’s ok. It all balances out in the end, I’m not too fussed.

Hope you had a great weekend!


 

What I Wore: White Silk Pants

12 May 2017

When I was a Stay At Home Mum to my little boys… I used to go to the park every day, sit on the grass, brush past my dusty car, sit on dirty park benches and have my boys wipe their tomato sauce fingers (or drippy noses) on my pants!

Suffice to say, I almost never wore white pants.

So NOW whenever I wear white pants, it feels like a super special occasion!!

Woohoo, look at me, all grown up!

Grana Silk Pants

 

Anyway, I’ve been looking for some nice, cropped white trousers, with a slight cuff. I tried on a few at Witchery and David Jones, but they weren’t quite what I wanted, in terms of fit and fabric.

It occurred to me that I already had a pair of white Silk Ankle Pants from Grana that fit really well.

So I wore them out the other day, rolling up the cuffs to make them look a bit more like cropped trousers. It worked out quite well!

I’m wearing the Size XS “Regular” in Off White. They are more Off White (with a hint of Cream) in real life, not a “bright white” as it looks in this photo.

They fall to just above my ankles, which is a really good fit for me. They are nice and comfy around the waist, and not too tight. Here’s my original post about the silk pants.

They are double lined, 100% silk, not see-through, comfy elasticised waistband, not staticky, lovely to wear… and uh, honestly a bargain at AU$99.

They are also a social conscience brand, believing in being transparent with ethical manufacturing, their low cost business model, their markup costings, and upholding a code of conduct when it comes to their apparel supply chain.

(Omg that sounded like such a hard sell, sorry! I’m not getting paid to say any of this! I genuinely love the brand. They occasionally send me stuff to review. I occasionally get some referral credit too. And I keep buying more stuff because it fits me and I love the quality. Plus I’m slowly heading towards finding brands with an ethical fashion conscience… but more on that another time.)

I just checked on the site, and Grana are now offering XS with a “Short” leg length, which is 5cm shorter in the leg, and would be more like cropped pants for me.

(These silk ankle pants are different to these silk culottes for AU$142, which – I believe – have a more satin like silk.)

Anyway I’m not buying another pair for myself – I really like these pants rolled up in this way!

(If you’re keen, you can use my code to get 10% off your order and free worldwide shipping, just use the code “KARENXGRANA” and head to this page!)

Outfit details:

Hello Parry Off Shoulder Top
Melimelo Rosalia Bag
Habbot Studios oxford shoe (old)


 

Digging Up Treasures

10 May 2017

Over the last few weekends, my husband and I have been sloooowly cleaning out our shed.

1 hour here. 2 hours there.

We have boxes and boxes of stuff that we have to sort through and to decide whether to THROW or KEEP.

We are not very good at throwing things away. We like to keep things.

So the whole process has been embarrassingly slow.

But…. we have turned up some good stuff! Behold!

Callum Drawing

These scrappy drawings were done by my oldest boy when he was about 7.

I had tucked them loose into a file full of HILARIOUS drawings he had done at home.

They were drawn on used copy paper from my husband’s office, so they were pretty scrappy.

Callum Drawing

Two questions come to mind.

Why was our 7 year old watching Indiana Jones??

And why did he not draw the Temple of Doom?

Haha I love these so much, but I don’t really know what to do with them.

Um, so I just tucked them back into the file for me to discover next time!


 

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