Win $200 to Spend at Vision Direct

19 December 2014

Vision Direct X Karen Cheng

I’ve teamed up with Vision Direct to give one lucky winner a $200 voucher to purchase a pair of hot new sunglasses!

You can choose from styles like Ray-Ban, Celine, Gucci, Chloe, D&G, Givenchy, Missoni, Michael Kors, Tom Ford, YSL and much more. The range is really impressive and the prices are the best I’ve seen online.

Vision Direct X Karen Cheng

Vision Direct have put together a Christmas Gift Guide so you can see the best and most popular styles in simple categories (glamour, career, retro, trendy etc).

The photos above is a collection of glamorous styles, including frames like Dolce & Gabbana, Tom Ford, Celine and Gucci. I like the Celine one!

Vision Direct X Karen Cheng

And these are a collection of on-trend styles, including Dolce & Gabbana, Ray-Ban, Fendi and Italia Independent. I have my eye on the tortoiseshell Fendi one in the middle!

I have bought sunglasses from Vision Direct before. I accidentally bought the wrong size (I bought the kid’s size, duh!), so I organised an exchange, I sent the small pair back, the new ones arrived in great time. Overall I was really happy with the shopping experience.

This Christmas, they let me pick a new pair for myself too! I made a huge wishlist and managed to whittle it down to two – a Celine pair and a Saint Laurent pair.

Saint Laurent Sunglasses Bold 1

In the end, I chose these Saint Laurent Bold 1 sunglasses. They are gorgeous to wear!

Saint Laurent Bold 1 Sunglasses

I like the slight square and angular shape of this style, which looks a bit fresh and different to the round, cat-eye shapes that I usually wear.

I don’t know much about the technical specifications of sunglasses, but the glass is really clear, it has UV protection, the frame feels smooth on my face, and the weight of it is nice and solid; not too heavy and not too light. The arms sit perfectly on my head/ears and it hangs on securely, without pressing too tightly at my temples. The bridge slides down my nose a tiny bit, but well… that’s something I’ve gotten used to when having a wide Asian nose!

What do you think? Which pair would you choose?

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

Who Can Enter:
This giveaway is only open to residents of Australia, over the age of 18 years. Sorry to my international readers!

What You Win:
The winner will receive a gift voucher to spend at Vision Direct worth AUD200. Not transferable for cash.

Giveaway Ends:
The giveaway will run for 7 days. It starts from 18 December and ends on 24 December 2014, 11:59pm  (GMT +8)

What you have to do:

1) Go to the Vision Direct Facebook Page and LIKE IT!

2) Go to the Vision Direct Website and find a pair of glasses you like.

3) Email me at this address visiondirect@karencheng.com.au and answer this question – “What is the name of your favourite pair of sunglasses from the Vision Direct website?”

4) Include your FULL NAME and BEST CONTACT EMAIL.

That’s it!

I will close the competition on 25 December. The winner will be randomly selected via random.org and contacted via email.

If the selected winner doesn’t respond in 3 days, then I will redraw another random name. I will announce the winner as soon as possible on my blog.

Good luck and have fun!


 

50% off Three Floor Dresses at ASOS

18 December 2014

Three Floor Dresses

Oh wow! Since writing about my Three Floor Dress earlier this week, I found a whole heap of Three Floor Dress styles at ASOS – on 50% off sale :)

These dresses are from $100 – $180, which is an amazing bargain when they’re usually $300-$400.

They’re perfect for a New Year’s Eve party!

Scroll below for a direct link to the dresses – happy shopping!


 

The Library Dress Hire

17 December 2014

Yesterday I mentioned I borrowed a dress from a new dress hire boutique in Perth, called The Library Dress.

I’ve never done it before, because my thinking has been that if I’m going to spend $130-$150 to hire a dress that I’ll wear ONCE, I may as well put in a bit more money and spend $250 on a dress that I can keep forever. Am I right?!

I estimate that every year I go to one or two weddings, one black tie corporate ball, and maybe 6-8 big functions… which is possibly a bit more than most people, but hey, it’s part of my job.

Anyway, the problem is that these days… to find a standout, stunning, on-trend, designer dress, that fits me, and hopefully no one else is wearing… I’m looking at dresses that are priced around $300-$600, which is frankly a bit too expensive, and I already don’t have enough hanger space.

So the option to HIRE a “standout, stunning, on-trend, designer dress” is very appealing to me.

 

Three Floor Dress, The Library Dress

This is a Three Floor Behaviour Self Rose Gold Lace Dress, RRP $350. To hire it was $80 (including the cost of dry cleaning!)

It looked freaking amazing and was such a great dress to wear! It is made from thick, strong stretchy material that acted like a kind of corset and fit me perfectly.

It had lace and cool cut-outs and a bold and striking style. I absolutely loved it!

Three Floor Dress, The Library Dress

The Library Dress is based in Claremont. Phoebe, the owner, shares a showroom with a stylish design company, and thus is able to keep her overhead costs down, which translates into a more affordable price for her clients. Apparently most hire places have a hire cost AND THEN you have to pay for your own dry cleaning.

The hire price range at The Library Dress shop is $70 – $140 (with the cost of dry cleaning included).

She has an amazing collection of dresses for hire!

Here are a few that caught my eye.

The Library Dress

There are short dresses by Josh Goot, Nicholas and Alex Perry.

The Library Dress

Medium length and long dresses by Alice McCall, Manning Cartell, Carla Zampatti, Aelkemi and many more.

You can check out The Library Dress Facebook Page which has photo albums of dresses you can hire.

For my readers who are not in Perth, I’m sure there’s a dress hire boutique in your city that is only a Google Search away!

Enjoy!


 

High Tea Fundraiser for Borderless Friendship WA

16 December 2014

I had the pleasure of attending a High Tea Fundraising Event for Borderless Friendship WA (BFWA).

BFWA is part of the Borderless Friendship Foundation (BFF) in Thailand, who work with 350-400 communities in the remote areas of Northern Thailand. Specifically, they enhance the lives of children, youth, women and vulnerable people within those communities; helping them with food, education, medical help, safe drinking water and sanitation.

I did a bit of reading up on them; although they are not a large organisation, I’m deeply impressed by the kind of work that they do. They sound like a very hands-on group, who activate people in their community for help. And their projects seem approachable enough that even myself and my children could possibly join in.

With that in mind, I was keen to meet some of the generous and driven people behind the scenes of the event.

High Tea Fundraiser for Borderless Friendship WA

The event was held at The Terrace Hotel, which incorporates the heritage listed St George’s House. I always love looking up and enjoying the juxtaposition of the old bricks, 1900s architecture and the shiny glass windows of the modern skyscrapers above.

High Tea Fundraiser for Borderless Friendship WA

The high tea was lovely! The weather was perfect. There were 110 guests, all sitting in the outdoor courtyard, under the trees and the dappled sunshine.

I planned to “watch what I eat” but in the end I scoffed 4 chicken sandwiches (omg they were so delicious), 3 divine chocolate things, 2 utterly perfect scones, 1 very moist orange and almond cake. And by the end of it, just like the very hungry caterpillar, I was looking for a nice green salad :P

High Tea Fundraiser for Borderless Friendship WA

There were lots of fabulous items on auction and things to bid on and buy!

High Tea Fundraiser for Borderless Friendship WA

I really wanted this gorgeous hand woven, organic cotton rug (the label said it was for a baby room)… but I talked myself out of it, because 1. I don’t have a baby; 2. I have wooden floors and fabric rugs are not suitable; 3. If I were to use it as a rug, in 5 years it would be dirty, gross and ruined, so I would want to preserve its beauty by keeping it in a box…. so really, if i bought it, it would not be used.

Instead I went big and bought a stack of raffle tickets – all for a good cause right?

High Tea Fundraiser for Borderless Friendship WA

There was also a fashion show! Designer Phoebe Longwood recently launched a new designer dress hire business in Perth, called The Library Dress. She treated the guests to two catwalk showcase of her dresses; one show had designer labels and one had her own label.

The three stunning dresses pictured above are a few styles from her own label. I’ll be blogging a bit more about her dresses next week, so I’ll save the details til then!

High Tea Fundraiser for Borderless Friendship WA

Here’s a pic of Phoebe and I – looking all kinds of amazing – me in a Three Floor dress and Phoebe wearing one of her own designs!

I had a really lovely time, I enjoyed the high tea, we had lots of girly chat, and a bit of fashion spying and shopping. In the end the event raised $6000 for such a great cause!

Thank you for having me!

xxx


 

25 Day Fitness Challenge – Day 8 to 14

15 December 2014

Workout!

As I’ve mentioned before, I have dedicated the month of December to getting fit again. For 25 days, I’m going to try to do some kind of vigorous exercise each day.

See all the past activity for my Fitness Challenge here.

This is what I’ve been up to this week:

Monday – Day 8
Netball game. Super high intensity workout!

Tuesday – Day 9
Went for a quick 3.5km run around the block.

Wednesday – Day 10
Strength and floor exercises. Lunges, squats, burpees, planks, spiderman – the lot!

Thursday – Day 11
Weights workout. Just used 3kg dumbbells and tried to target my upper body.

Friday – Day 12
We left for a camping trip, so I missed out doing exercise for today. But if you count frantically running around, trying to pack camping gear for 5 people for 3 days, then I was burning calories ALL FREAKING DAY!

Saturday – Day 13
Sand boarding, climbing up sand dunes, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding! We had the best time!

Sunday – Day 14
Played beach cricket and went for a jog on the beach (this was a killer!).

Writing it all down like this has been great for me! It’s nice to know that I’m pretty active each day, yay!


 

Simple Baked Salmon with Lemon and Butter

13 December 2014

Baked Salmon

Simple Baked Salmon with Lemon and Butter

I love cooking simple, fresh, and healthy meals! Using fresh salmon, a couple of ingredients (mostly from my garden) it is one of the easiest dinners that I make. It’s also one of my family’s favourite dinners.

1. Preheat oven to 200C.

2. Rub the base of an ovenproof dish with a bit of butter. Lay the salmon fillets on top.

3. Place lemon slices and slices of butter over the salmon.

4. Throw some vegetables (tomatoes and mushrooms work really well). Sprinkle a bit of fresh thyme or chives on top.

5. Pop into the oven for 13-15 minutes until the salmon is to your liking. I like mine to be a little raw in the middle.

6. Serve with steamed vegetables like baby potatoes, broccoli, long beans and asparagus.

Baked Salmon

This was dinner for my husband, 3 kids, my father in law and me!

Then we each had a bowl of fruit salad for dessert.

Healthy and yummy!


 

The Car Park Matrix

11 December 2014

Have you ever felt like you were stuck somewhere and LIVING THROUGH A NIGHTMARE??

While I didn’t get injured, nor did I survive a natural disaster… I still had a pretty freaky “trapped” moment.

Last weekend, I attended a fashion launch in the central business district of the city. The event was from 2 – 5pm and since it was the weekend and no one was at work, I parked my car at a nearby multi-story car park with no hassles at all. On the way out, I took note that I had parked on level “B2″.

After the event I got chatting to a few friends and by the time I walked to my car it was almost 6pm. The streets were pretty deserted. The car park rear entrance was closed up, so I took the side entrance. I was met with a locked glass door and a place to swipe my card for after hour entrances. I tried swiping my car park ticket to no avail, so I pressed the button to speak to a car park operator.

The operator was friendly. She asked me for my car registration plate number; I gave it to her and she buzzed for the glass door to open. I went down a series of steps and corridors, I found the lift, I pressed “B2″ and got to my floor.

The car park layout was a square shape, with a central shaft in the middle for the lift. But if you stepped out of the lift, you couldn’t see any car parking bays. You had to turn left or right, walk down a corridor (in a kind of H shape), down some steps, and at the end you could only see 30-40 percent of the parking bays on that floor – if you get what I mean. So in fact there were 3-4 corridors that lead to different car park bays.

So understandably, I walked down one corridor and could not find my car.

I walked down the OTHER corridor and again couldn’t find my car. So I walked AROUND the lift shaft (to the other 30% that is not visible from the end of the corridor) and AGAIN I couldn’t find my car.

I thought. Hang on. That’s not right. So I walked back to the first corridor and looked around. No car. Second corridor. No car. Hang on. Did I go down the left corridor or the right corridor first? Are there two corridors or three? Try again. One corridor. Second corridor. Third corridor. Around lift shaft. No car. In fact there were NO CARS on the WHOLE B2 FLOOR!

Silly me. I got my floors mixed up. I probably parked on the B1 floor.

So I got into the lift and went to B1. Again I walked down a corridor, down the steps – no car. Next corridor, down the steps. No car. Around the lift shaft – no car. Hang on, did I try this other corridor? AM I GOING MAD??

Surely I didn’t park on the other floor? I’m sure I parked on B2. But I took the lift to the “G” Floor. Corridor, steps, no car. Other corridor, steps, no car. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON??

I was really frustrated and my feet hurt from all the stupid walking. OK KAREN. THINK. Maybe the layout of car park is a bit more complicated and maybe there is another corridor that leads to more car bays, and since I’m absolutely sure that I parked on B2, I’ll go back to B2 and start again.

I was thinking, the security guards must be laughing their heads off. I can just imagine how the whole scene must look on their black and white monitors – a crazy woman pacing back and forth, this way and that way, from one monitor to the next.

I took the lift back to B2, and somehow it looked really different. And suddenly I wasn’t at all sure that I even checked all the corridors on this floor. I started to get quite stressed and anxious.

My sense of direction started to get wooshy. I couldn’t think straight. I had been walking around the empty car park for 30 minutes. I felt a rising panic grow inside me, and I could feel all my sensible, methodical and problem solving skills start to blur.

It was as if I was in a concrete maze. An urban nightmare labyrinth of identical service pipes and shifting concrete walls.

I tried the doors in the concrete walls, to get me out of the building. All the doors were LOCKED. I took the lift back up to Ground Level and that door was LOCKED too.

Ok. I need to get out of this car park NOW! It’s 6:30pm, it will be dark outside, the car park will close soon, the lights will go out, I will be stuck here over night in a stupid car park!

I walked into the lift and pressed the Emergency Phone button. It rang, but no one picked up. I pressed 3 times. And as I waited I had crazy thoughts about how I could start a fire, so it would activate an emergency response, and I could be saved by some firemen. Fire in a locked building? Bad idea. What about finding a fire extinguisher bottle and throwing it at the glass door? Oh oh I know! I could climb up into the air conditioning vents and crawl my way through the building until I found an exit!

OMG I couldn’t believe I was having these thoughts! I watch too many movies!

This is what my nightmare looked like.

The Car Park Matrix

The Car Park Matrix

The Car Park Matrix

The Car Park Matrix

The Car Park Matrix

The Car Park Matrix

The Car Park Matrix

Can you tell the three floors apart? Can you tell if you’re looking north or south? Does it all look the same to you?

Seriously. I was going crazy. My brain was so confused. I just wanted to curl up into a ball, close my eyes and cry.

OK THERE HAD TO BE A PERFECTLY SENSIBLE SOLUTION TO MY PROBLEM. This is what I will do, I thought. I will pretend I’m driving a car (more sensible than it sounds OK?), WALK along the path of the car, follow the signs all the way to the car exit, and find my way out of the building.

I decided to start back at B2. I pushed the button and as the lift doors opened, I came face to face with a woman.

ANOTHER HUMAN BEING! OMG I almost jumped on her and grabbed her by the shoulders – DON’T LEAVE ME HERE ALONE! YOU’RE HERE. I’M HERE. WE CAN BE FRIENDS!

She must’ve heard the panicking strain in my voice.

I explained my predicament. She said that she had trouble getting into the car park too. She said she would help me find her car. We jumped into her car (how come I didn’t see her car earlier??) and drove around and around, looking for my car. There were other cars parked on the floors (how did I not see those before?!?), but my car was NO WHERE TO BE FOUND!

We drove to the main entrance / exit.

FINALLY I WAS OUT OF THAT FORSAKEN PLACE. I COULD SEE THE SKY. But I had no idea what to do next.

She said, “Hang on. Can I see your ticket?”

We looked at the ticket. Aaaaaaand printed on it was the name of A DIFFERENT CAR PARK.

OH. Right. Wow, I felt pretty stupid.

I was looking for my car in the wrong car park.

We laughed. I felt my insides die of embarrassment. But at the same time my stomach lurched with more panic.

The woman (I didn’t get her name yet) said she would drive me to the OTHER car park to find my car. It was literally, just around the corner. Two, new, small, car parks sitting side by side. What’s the chance of that?

My car park was closed. There was a big sign that said, CAR PARK CLOSES AT 5PM.

Siiiiigh. It was Saturday evening, I doubted that it would be open on a Sunday, so it means I have to fight the working commuters and come back into the city on a Monday morning to get my car. How much is that going to cost?!?

I was going to get out of the lady’s car and call for a taxi… when she asked me where I lived.

It turned out that she used to live in my suburb (down the road from where I live!). She now lives 45 minutes from the city, she was going to be driving past my suburb on her way home, and did I want a lift home? It also turned out that she was the MC for the event that I went to that afternoon, and we shared a mutual friend! Oh my god how strangely fortunate!

We chatted all the way to my home. So was so friendly and so genuine. My heart, my panic, my whole inner spirit, softened at her kindness. I was so thankful!!

I was thinking: Gee this woman is a complete and utter stranger and she didn’t even flinch at helping me out. (OK maybe she did, and managed to hide it very well haha!)

But if I was in her situation, I would have had at least 10 seconds of internal hesitation, to consider what was happening, whether it was the right thing to do, do a risk assessment of my situation, a few seconds to check whether my car had enough gas, a few seconds to think whether I should contact my husband to let him know what was happening now. I also had the added complication that my 5 year old boy was at a birthday party and I was supposed to pick him up at 5:30pm (and the time was now 7pm!), so I had to make some phone calls to organise for someone else to pick him up!! My thoughts and plans were all over the place. Whereas she was cool and calm.

I think this may have been the first time I’ve been the recipient to such epic kindness by a complete stranger.

It’s soul shaking and life changing I tell you.

I feel like a different and more inspired person for it. It makes me want to be a kinder and more generous person too.

The next day, I took the train into the city, I took my son along for the ride… and told him the whole story.

We went back to the WRONG car park and I retraced my steps and took photos (shown above) – mainly to show my husband, to PROVE to him how confusing the car park was. As I went back to the scene and snapped away with my camera, all my photos looked the same, all the angles looked the same?! I started to sweat and feel a little anxious again. Thankfully my son was there to say, “The exit is this way mum…”

Then we went to the CORRECT car park and took this photo to compare the two.

The Car Park Matrix

It was a completely different building. Both had red pipes on the ceiling, rectangular columns, clean concrete columns, numbers on the floor… Whatever.

But I realised that what really made me believe that I was in the correct carpark, was the fact that I had given my car registration number to the security person, and she had let me in! I assumed they had a list of all the cars they knew were in the building, right? But it turns out that they just let anyone in who says they have left their car in there :P

Total cost of car parking turned out to be $30.

Phew, I’m glad that’s all over!

I’m happy that I feel all inspired to be a better person and all… but I probably could have done without the nightmarish, heart-stopping, head-spinning experience. :P


 

Upping My Everyday Wear with In Good Company

9 December 2014

In Good Company, Capsule 5

I am a big, big fan of In Good Company’s elegant, effortless modern style and I love all the looks that come from each of their collections. They have recently launched their 5th Capsule and gave me a sneak peek of some of the good stuff!

The first top I want to share is this blue Demeter Draped Back Top, featuring this very gorgeous drapey back. Apparently it is made from one square of fabric and expertly draped so it cascades and swishes as you walk.

Ah it was SO cool to wear! I wore it to a fashion show the other day and, people kept asking me to spin around for them so they could see the back.

I’m wearing it with In Good Company Slouchy Trousers, Alexander Wang heels from Forward, Zac Posen Clutch from Shopbop.

In Good Company, Capsule 5

Being a bright blue, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to match it with much. But now I’m thinking I could wear it with white jeans/shorts/skirt, grey jersey skirt, pale grey skinny jeans, and a tropical print skirt, or maybe a bright coloured pencil skirt.

I ended up wearing it out with a white lace skirt from YesStyle and stud heels from Boohoo. I think the top looked great in the outfit and most importantly I felt great :)

I’m usually a size UK6 / AUS6, and this top is a size XS.

In Good Company, Capsule 5

This is a lovely and simple top, with a loose fit, and soft layers – giving it a very timeless and elegant feel. It slipped effortlessly into my wardrobe and matched everything!

It’s called the Becca Layered Top. Again I’m wearing the size XS.

I can absolutely see this top being able to carry me from day to night.

(Jeans from JCrew and Acne heels from Forward)

In Good Company, Capsule 5

Perfect for office wear and tailored pieces, the top also goes well with casual basics like jeans or statement leather pants!

The top also comes in navy, but this style has been so popular that I think both the grey and navy are sold out online.

(Leatherette pants from Topshop, heels from YesStyle, Aldo clutch from ASOS)

In Good Company, Capsule 5

And lastly, this is the Seville Crepe Top. It has a very simple front and a twisted racer back style at the back. I love its simplicity and how it falls so nicely; it also drapes and swishes when I walk, which makes it feels a bit special.

Again it’s a top that fits in perfectly with all the items in my wardrobe, and would definitely be a great top for the office and after work.

You know, I have quite a few IGC tops and I always pull them out whenever I want to wear something effortless and still feel fabulous!

Do pop over to the site to see the rest of the goodies, and hopefully you’ll enjoy them as much as I do!

xxxx


 

25 Day Fitness Challenge – Day 1 to 7

8 December 2014

25 Day Fitness - Dec 2014

My daily fitness challenge started off with a bang!

If you missed my blog post here, I’ve dedicated the month of December to getting fit again.

For 25 days, I’m going to try to do some kind of vigorous exercise each day.

Monday – Day 1
Woke up at 5:30am and went for a 5km run. Netball game in the evening.

Tuesday – Day 2
6km run at 5:30am.

Wednesday – Day 3
18km bike ride.

Thursday – Day 4
Strength and floor exercises.

Friday – Day 5
3km run. Yoga in the evening.

Saturday – Day 6
Slow 5km bike ride (with my 5yo). Upper body workout.

Sunday – Day 7
2 hours of gardening. Mowing and raking the lawn gives a great ab work out!

Have a fantastic week everyone!

xxx


 

Daniel Wellington for Christmas

7 December 2014

Daniel Wellington

It looks like Daniel Wellington watches have taken over the internet!

Everyone seems to have one or want one and I can see why; with their clean, refined, minimal design, and their affordable price, they are an instant classic and a very elegant addition to your accessory wardrobe.

I don’t have one (yet!), but this Christmas I think I just might. HINT HINT!

Daniel Wellington

Daniel Wellington are having a special Christmas sale: Buy a leather strap watch and receive 50% off a NATO watch strap and free gift wrapping.

The site offers FREE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE for all orders!

Daniel Wellington

These designs are all US$149.

From left is the Classy St. Andrews, Classy Bristol and Classy Sheffield. Comes with rose gold or silvers faces.

Daniel Wellington

These designs are all US$199.

From left is the Classic St. Andrews Lady, Classic Bristol Lady and Classic Sheffield Lady. They all come with rose gold or silver faces.

There are heaps more designs at the online shop. Hope you find something you like!

Happy shopping!

(Photos from Daniel Wellington)


 

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