Archive for September 2015

 

day of week

Win $1500 with Stayz Holiday Accommodation

30 September 2015

Brought to you by Stayz

Hi everyone! I have some super exciting news to share!

I’m teaming up with Stayz, Australia’s largest holiday rental website, to showcase a few fun projects coming up.

Stayz, Dunsborough

Firstly.

Stayz Holiday Throwback Competition!

Win a $1500 Visa Gift Card to put towards your next holiday, or towards a new designer handbag – that’s kind of like a holiday right?? Haha!

You DO need a blog to enter – Write a blog post about your favourite childhood holiday and then fill out the entry form here.

If you DON’T have a blog, that’s okay, you can post your favourite holiday throwback photo on the Stayz Facebook Page or on your own Instagram account (with the #Stayz and #HTB tags) and you could win a $100 Westfield gift card.

Check out more information about the Stayz Holiday Throwback Competition here. It’s really easy!

Yallingup, Wyadup Rocks

Secondly.

I’ll be showcasing a few Stayz holiday accommodations around Australia, over the next few months! Wayhey!

I have so many friends who have used Stayz, who rave about the houses they rented and their holidays. I’m so excited to be road testing and featuring some of these places for myself!

I love the idea that you can rent a whole home, big or small, most often with a capacity for multiple families – this suits our holiday style perfectly.

If you’ve been a long time reader, you probably know we love our camping and holiday trips with friends. We love to be social, we love to create memories, we love our family time, and we love having new adventures and experiences with our kids.

Here’s to new family adventures! Starting next week!

Follow me on Instagram (@karenlycheng) or Snapchat (heykarencheng) to keep up with our holiday antics!

xxx

(Photos are some of my favourite holiday memories. First one was in 2012 while holidaying at Geographe Bay, Western Australia. Second photos taken in 2015 at Wyadup Rocks, Western Australia.)


day of week

Black Lace Up Sandals by Schutz

27 September 2015

Schutz Sandals Black

Eager to have criss-cross tan lines on my feet this summer, I finally took the plunge and picked up these Erlina Suede Sandals by popular shoe brand Schutz.

THINKING they might make me feel like I’ve tangled my toes in a fishing net…

or stepped into a crocheted-hanging-pot-plant…

I expected the leathery ropes to feel quite bondage-y?

Nope.

The laces are a bit of a pain to do up, but once they are on, they are so, so, SO soft and amazingly comfortable. I don’t think I’ve ever worn such lovely gladiator-style sandals before.

It was a heart-breaking decision between the tan and black sandals – but alas!

It had to be black, because they went much better with the rest of my monochrome/neutral wardrobe… and my strawberry smoothie!

Have a fab week everyone!

xxx


day of week

That Pretty Cotton Cami

25 September 2015

I’m flying over to Singapore for a Girl’s Trip next month – YAY!!

I’m expecting hot, humid, tropical weather…so I’m still obsessing over this look:

A pretty, white, cotton camisole, worn with denim shorts and tan sandals.

Yep it’s simple, girly, casual, effortless… and I’m scratching my head as to why I don’t own a white cotton cami already?!

I absolutely LOVE these!

Pretty Cotton Camis from Shopbop

Left: d.RA Sparrow Top. I think this one is my favourite because of the mix of embroidery and crochet, the adjustable straps, and the front has a slight sweetheart neckline. So pretty!

Right: Love Sam Sleeveless Lace Blouse. This one is also nice because it has a higher neckline, a very nice shape that looks a bit polished and could be worn for both day and night time.

Pretty Cotton Camis from Shopbop

Left: Ella Moss Blanca Camisole (on sale). This one looks very similar to the one above (with a prettier crochet design), but its neckline and shoulder straps are slightly wider apart and it looks a bit sheer.

Right: Raga Zuma Tunic (on sale). This top is so lovely and floaty! I love the tassels, but it’s a bit longer in length.

I’m thinking I might go for the first one?


day of week

What I Wore: Camel and Denim

24 September 2015

Camel and Denim
Wearing Hello Parry off shoulder top, Jeanswest jeans, Betts sandals, ECCO bag, GAP coat.

Ahhh, with fashion week over, life has settled back to normal… and casual dressing can resume!

I actually wore this outfit and took this photo a few weeks ago, but I wasn’t going to post it because I thought it was too simple.

Turns out I’m still loving the camel, white + denim vibe weeks later – so it made the blog after all!

Other reasons I wanted to share it…

It’s such a great colour combination, the mix-and-match-ability is endless.

Camel brings a bit of colour and warmth to all the monochrome and neutral outfits I’ve been wearing.

There’s something simple, polished, yet everyday about the outfit. I guess simplicity wins!

It also turns out that you guys have been asking for me to post more “real and everyday” outfits. So I’ll remember to take a snap of what I’m wearing before I head out the door!

Have a gorgeous day!

xxx


day of week

Raw Coconut and Lime Cheesecake

23 September 2015

Raw Coconut and Lime Cheesecake

This dessert is a raw, dairy-free, gluten-free, no-bake recipe!

Ok before you judge me as some crazy health freak… let me just say this: I eat WAY TOO MUCH ICE CREAM.

At the end of the day, when the kids are in bed, the kitchen is cleared, the house is tidied… of course I like to put my feet up and relax. I don’t drink wine. I eat ice cream.

Or chocolate.

OR chocolate ice cream AND chocolate biscuits, depending on my day!

Well, this cheesecake is a nice healthy, low sugar alternative. It is really delicious. You would never think that blended cashew nuts would have the same consistency as cream cheese! It does! And it’s lovely.

I love the sweet and slighty salty flavours (from the pistachios) and I put a bit of cacao powder into the base, to give it a hint of chocolate.  I only have one slice each evening with a cup of herbal tea, which is so much better for me than a bowl of ice cream!

Not to mention I’m slightly intolerant to cow’s milk, so I always end up with a slight tummy ache and a bloated gut before bed. But do I learn the next night? No! Haha!

Raw Coconut and Lime Cheesecake

I put together the recipe from 4 different recipes I found on the internet, and from my own trial and error. I’ve made it 3 times already, tweaking it here and there. Hope you like it!

The only annoying thing about this recipe is that you have to soak the cashews overnight, then you have to freeze/chill the cake for at least 4 hours. Then you have to defrost it for 30 minutes before serving… which means you pretty much can’t eat it until the next day.

Raw Coconut and Lime Cheesecake

YUM! SO good!

Raw Coconut and Lime Cheesecake

Raw Coconut and Lime Cheesecake

Filling
2 cups cashews soaked overnight (or at least 4 hours!)
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 cup coconut cream
¼ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup fresh lime juice
Grated rind of half a lime
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 tablespoons of maple syrup

Base
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup chopped dates, softened in water, drained (pitted dates are fine)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
2 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoon of cacao powder
pinch of salt

Decoration
Lime slices or grated lime rind
½ cup of shredded coconut
½ cup of crushed pistachios

1. Line a loaf tin (or a spring cake tin) with grease proof paper, or grease with coconut oil.

2. Base: Using a food processor, blend the almonds, dates, coconut, coconut oil, cacao powder and salt until it turns into an even grain.

3. Evenly spread and firmly press the mixture into the base of the tin. Pop into the freezer. You can do this the day before. I would cover the cake tin with cling wrap first.

4. Filling: You can either rinse out the food processor, or use a high-powered blender for this. Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. You might want to adjust the taste by adding more lime juice or maple syrup. It’s supposed to have a limey punch!

5. Pour the filling over the base, smooth the top and pop into the freezer for at least 4 hours. I like to cover the tin with cling wrap to prevent it from drying out or absorbing any smells from my freezer.

6. Take out the cake to defrost for 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Decorate with sliced limes, crushed nuts and shredded coconut.

Enjoy!

xxx


day of week

Fashion Week Day 1 – Outfit, Makeup, Hair

22 September 2015

TPFF Day 1 - Wearing 33Poets

During the Telstra Perth Fashion Festival, I was given some pretty amazing media tickets to many of the big shows. I felt quite honoured, nervous, thrilled, grateful and entrusted… that they chose me as one of the local bloggers to cover the shows. Eeeep!

So to show my support for the designers, producers and organisers, I figured that I’d try a bit harder and organise my outfit, hair and makeup! I rarely do that!

The first show for the festival was by Dilettante, featuring Yang Li, 33Poets and Toni Maticevski.

I have admired the label 33Poets and Rebecca Paterson’s textile work for a number of years, and I have previously borrowed a 3-way Japanese Shibori Silk Dress from her, which I reviewed here. So it was a no-brainer who I was going to contact – I literally begged Rebecca to wear something from her old collection!

She was so happy that I asked (although a bit busy prepping for her show). I popped into Tu Boutique (who stocks 33Poets) and I came away with this stunning dress you see above. It doesn’t really have a name, but it is made from the same Japanese Shibori Silk as the 3-way dress. It was amazing to wear. It was so grand and unique. I felt like a dark princess.

TPFF Day 1 - Pamper package at Generics

Next, I contacted the team at Generics, who have a brand new shop in Northbridge (corner of William St and Aberdeen St). They have expanded their products to include vegan beauty and lifestyle products, gorgeous fragrances, marble decor, express facials, and pamper packages (with a team of hair artists and makeup artists).

I booked myself in for makeup, sent them a photo of my dress and told them I wanted something DRAMATIC!

I had the ever so lovely Hanh Ngo, a professional makeup artist (who also works for MAC), do my makeup. She did a wonderful job!

I actually wanted a “Very smokey eye, with nude lips” look. But at the end, we thought I looked a bit “flat”, so Hahn gave me RED LIPS instead – which totally transformed my look for the better!

TPFF Day 1 - Hair by Game of Braids

I also booked to have my hair braided by Bec of Game of Braids.

You can get a single side braid for $35 or a full blown quadruple braid for $120! Check out the link. It is SO. COOL.

Can you believe that I’ve never had my hair braided before? My mum was never the hair braiding type. And I’ve always had such thick, long hair that no one would even attempt to braid it.

I asked Bec for my hair to be up, and for the braid to come down to one side. She did a great job, and the most amazing bit – it stayed up for the whole night!

Lisa from Generics styled me with some colourful bling earrings (I didn’t even THINK about my jewellery. I was just going to wear nothing!) which matched my red lips, my red clutch and (incidentally) my dark pink toe nails. They gave me some fragrance, organic body glow cream… all the finishing touches and more… and my goodness, I looked and felt so complete!

By the end of it, I was in a HUGE RUSH (which was my fault because I arrived 30 minutes late). I only had 15 minutes to get to the show, and I was so so SO thankful to all of them for making me look great!!

TPFF Day 1 - Sitting Front Row Yo!

I arrived and found myself a seat on the front row WOAH!

TPFF2015 Day 1 - Silly Photos with the Fash Squad

(Two photos by Ryan Ammon)

As I wrote before, the Dilettante show was stunning and one of the best I’ve seen.

After the show, I found a stack of my fashion friends and we took so many silly photos. You can have a peak on my Facebook Page.

TPFF2015 Day 1 - At home with makeup

This is me back at home. It was around 11:30pm and I was feeling tired, hungry but super pumped for another day of fashion!

(My hair came out because when I drove home, the pony tail bit rubbed against the head rest. But my makeup didn’t smudge or sweat off at all. I was so pleased with the result! Thank you so much guys!)

I have 5 more days of grooming and outfits, so keep popping by for more updates!

xxx


day of week

A Little Catch Up With Sandals and Flowers

21 September 2015

Schutz Flatlay

Happy Monday everyone!

As I mentioned a few posts ago, it’s fashion week season… and I had the pleasure of attending 8 different events in 5 days.

Sounds a bit intense? Yeah it was, but I’m not complaining! It was fun! I made so many new contacts and friends, saw some great shows, I exercised my networking and conversation skills, plus I really wanted to support the local designers, talented creatives and small business owners again.

Also… I guess I wanted to announce to everyone that I was back in the blogging scene again.

Last year I took a break from the fashion scene because I wanted to concentrate on the business side of my blog.

That has worked out really well, as I have been inundated with heaps of new, fun, interesting, paid work over the year; possibly too much for my schedule, but I think I’m now a bit of a pro at sayin’ NO, choosing work that suits me, and making sure it doesn’t affect my work life balance.

I still want to cook delicious meals for my family, have coffee with friends, go shopping with my mum, have long conversations with each of my kids, be a kind of rock for my boys as they grow up and head off to high school, go for runs in the sunshine, volunteer for charity, bake treats, vacuum my own house and grow my own vegetables in my garden.

I won’t be a millionaire, I won’t be famous, but hey I’m happy doing my own thing.

I feel successful!? That’s all that matters right?

So I’m very thankful and grateful for how everything has been going in the last 12 months.

Blogging is a very different landscape now.

I’m more of a freelance digital creative now, busily creating visual and editorial content for my blog and social media, and selling media space across my platform. Ha, that sounds so formal. I prefer to say, “I just write about stuff and take photos.” Haha!

I hope to do a lot more writing here.

I know it goes against the new social media and Instagram culture. I know it goes against all the stunning, image-driven, picture-heavy websites that gets all the eyeballs these days (which is a talent and art in itself!). Everyone says, “People don’t like to read lots of words these days. No one reads blogs anymore.”

That may be true. But as much as I love visual style, art, design and appreciate the creative geniuses behind it all… there’s something about the written word, a voice that cuts through everything else, that truly inspires me.

I have been working on rolling out a few things on my blog. Hopefully it will all be finished soon!

Thank you for reading! Hope you have a fantastic week!

In the photograph: My new Schutz Sandals from Shopbop, Stripe top from Love Bonito, Skirt from Base by Ben, and some roses from my garden.


day of week

Blossoms In The Sun

20 September 2015

Blossom in the Sun

Carrying on with my theme of finding beauty in details… my plum blossom plant is going crazy!

It is bursting with colour and joy in the warm sunshine! It is beautiful!

Ironically, we planted it in our front yard, next to an ugly grey concrete fence… and it’s a bit tricky to take a pretty photograph of the whole plant.

So to take THIS photo, I had to CRUSH myself and SQUAT awkwardly between the fence and the plant, point the camera into the sun, close my eyes, and snap continuously while waving my phone blindly.

Thankfully the postman didn’t stop by or I would’ve looked like such a freak!

The resulting photo was close to perfect though :)


day of week

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2015: Jaime Lee

19 September 2015

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2015 - Jaime Lee

Continuing on with my love for fashion details, I was pretty much blown away by the visual spectacle of Jaime Lee‘s Runway show for the Telstra Perth Fashion Festival.

Inspired by Japanese theme parks and the famous Robot Restaurant Shows in Tokyo, the show was a dazzling display of glittery unicorns, rainbows, dragon heads, purple fur, hyper-coloured prints, feathers and sequins!

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2015 - Jaime Lee

It was easy to dismiss all the visual kapow as a runway gimmick, but even a layperson could see the strong creative concept and the hours of handiwork that went into making these amazing garments.

It was so impressive!

The clothes were fun, cheeky, sexy and ranged from hilarious, weird, stunning and breathtaking. With the electric soundtrack, the psychedelic video loop as a backdrop and the glitter fireworks at the end, I looked around the audience and saw every face smiling.

It was a fantastic show, one that I’ll never forget!

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2015 - Jaime Lee

Well done to Jaimee Lee and her team for putting on such a great show.

If you ever get a chance to buy tickets to see one of her future shows, do it, you won’t regret it!

(more…)


day of week

Skinny Dip Lips Clutch

18 September 2015

Skinny Dip Lips Clutch

Tee hee! Do you like my new Skinny Dip Lips Clutch?

I bought it for my shenanigans during fashion week. And for this photo, I laid it on the rose petal covered catwalk (after the fashion show) for a bit of American Beauty action, and because the lips matched the petals so nicely!

Yes the clutch is not exactly practical or “classic”… but it screams fun and it aligns nicely with my sense of humour.

I actually knew of the brand Skinny Dip, because they do super cute and crazy clutches and iphone cases – think clutches in shapes of pussycats, Care Bear stars, baseballs, mermaid shells, fried egg and cartoon ray guns.

And so I was delighted that they were stocked on ASOS, because it meant free shipping and 5 days delivery for me.

Such a win!


day of week

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2015: Dilettante – Beauty In The Details

17 September 2015

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2015 - Yang Li

Ah how quickly it comes around… fashion week season is upon us again! New York has just finished up, London is underway, soon it will be followed by Milan and then Paris.

On the other side of the world, thrown into the mix is the Telstra Perth Fashion Festival. Yes the city in which I live! We have a fashion week too.

Sure there’s no Ralph Lauren, Gucci, or Chanel, so why should the world take notice?

What’s to be gained? Aside from being told that 70’s and boho is back in fashion?

Well, I wanted to bring to you a slightly different look at my local fashion festival.

These people are creatives, who work really hard so they can keep being creative. They really are no different to traditional artists, musicians, photographers, designers, film makers, authors, floral artists, ice sculptors, chefs, or digital creatives (like me).

And if you stop and look a little closer, you’ll be able to find beauty in the details.

So sit up in your chair, come a little closer to the screen, pretend you are at an art gallery and check out the details I managed to capture on the catwalk!

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2015 - Opening Night Dilettante

Luxurious WA boutique Dilettante opened the fashion festival with a magnificent showcase of 3 labels from their range of international, Australian and West Australian designers. It was compelling, sublime and one of the best I’ve seen.

Yang Li is a Chinese-born, Australian-bred (in Perth!), London-based designer, who shows at Paris Fashion Week, and stocks his clothes internationally and online.

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2015 - Opening Night Dilettante

(more…)


day of week

Commissioning Artwork from Around the World – Easy, Affordable and Exciting

16 September 2015

Brought to you by The Commissioned

The Commissioned
(Photo from The Commissioned)

I was recently introduced to The Commissioned and invited to experience their art commission services.

Having a background in art, design and photography; having a lot of friends who purchase art for their homes; and having bought my own art, I was really drawn to the whole concept of the website.

I was excited beyond belief!

What is it?

The Commissioned has a large selection of talented artist from all over the world. You can look through their bio, browse through their works, and then start a direct conversation with an artist to commission a work of art for yourself.

You can chose colours that will suit the décor of your house. You can choose a subject that will celebrate a special moment in your life. You can capture a special message as a gift to a friend. The scope is endless!

My Commissioning Experience

I had quite a clear idea of what I wanted.

I wanted an abstract painting inspired by one of our family walks through a beautiful forest.

I took some lovely photos during the walk and wanted to capture the moment somehow. I also wanted the painting to have blurry figures of my 3 children, just to remind me of that happy moment as I looked at them through the leaves.

Sign up and Browse!

I signed up to the site and began to browse through the hundreds of artists, view their works and read about a bit about them (you can actually browse without signing up).

When you sign up, you get to see all the artists’ indicative prices and the size of their paintings, such as: Small Canvas (11×14 inch) USD123.20 or Medium Canvas (24×36 inch) USD691.20.
You can also “Favourite” the artists whose works catch your eye, so you can view them again later.

I was quite fascinated to discover artists from all over the world – United States, Asia, Europe, Philipines, Japan, Moscow, Finland, Poland, Russia, Spain, Argentina and more.

In the end, I utterly fell in love with artist, Deusa Blumke’s work.

Art by Deusa Blumke

She was born in Brazil and currently pursuing Masters Degree in Singapore. She has a looooong list of exhibited works in her portfolio, has won a few awards for her art… but most of all I loved her style. I loved her spontaneous strokes, her bold colours, her blobs, splatters and unique layering.

Art by Deusa Blumke

Examples of Deusa Blumke’s work (courtesy of the artist).

So I sent her a message to start a conversation.

I requested that I was keen for an abstract painting based on the theme of “A Forest Walk”. I’d like the painting to look more like a forest, not a path in a forest.

I enclosed some photos I took while on our recent forest walk. I told her that I would love for her to use them as inspiration for shapes and colour, in particular greens, blues, greys, browns, whites, black (but not too much black!)

Forest walk in Boranup

Forest walk in Boranup

I told her I loved the colours, strokes, movement and spontaneity of her featured artworks and would like the painting to have the same strokes, blobs, movement and spontaneity. I don’t really like the use of hard lines/edges and geometric shapes.

Forest walk in Boranup

I also mentioned to her that I would like the painting to include 3 little abstract figures in the background, dressed in a navy/grey blue (much like the photo above). However I didn’t want them to be the focus of the picture; they are just playing within the scenery.

Forest walk in Boranup

She loved the photos! She agreed to the collaboration, we settled the price, I made the payment and she set to work.

(I was given a promo code to use at The Commissioned for this review.)

I was super, super, super excited, and a bit nervous!

I couldn’t believe I was going to own one of her paintings! But what if I don’t like it? What if it’s not quite what I wanted? I guess I can ask her to tweak it a bit?

Updates: Work in Progress

A week later, Deusa sent me an update: A photo of her work in progress!

Work in Progress by Deusa Blumke - The Commissioned

Holy cow! Amazing! – Was my first response!

Usually a sketch is adequate for the first stage of communication, but all artists, designers and creatives work in different ways… and it can be a bit risky for a client to see an unfinished photo of the artwork. I had to keep that in mind.

It’s like a wedding cake maker sending a photo of their fruitcake; A car paint shop sending a photo of their first coat; A chef sending a photo of their chopping board. The masterpiece is not yet revealed! It’s still in progress!

I have to admit that I stared at the unfinished painting a bit more than I should have. I got a bit worried. The graphic designer in me kicked in and I was concerned that there was too much brown, and not enough bright colours, and maybe I should send a message to direct her?

I probably could have done that. The website has a “Creative Studio” section, which brings together all your conversations with artists, all your current and past commissioned works, and any photos sent back and forth.

The site basically makes it very open and easy to have a conversation with the artist.

But I wanted to see the whole process through, being respectful to the artist, being true to the art process and having confidence in her talent.

So I didn’t ask her to change anything. I knew she would deliver something amazing in the end.

It would be like me telling a master chef, halfway through making my meal, to “OH REMEMBER TO ADD SOME SALT TO MAKE IT TASTY OK?”

Out of curiosity, I asked if she could send over some photos of her workspace, so I could publish it on my blog. Seeing photos of the work in progress, within the workspace, was pretty exciting! But this might not be a typical step in the commissioning process.

Work in Progress by Deusa Blumke - The Commissioned

So cool!

A few days later, she sent some more photo of her work in progress.

Then a few days later, she sent a few more.

Finally, 12 days after we agreed to collaborate, she sent over her final photos and a message, part of it saying, “Unless you would like to have some more of a certain colour or adjustments, I’m finished :)”

I didn’t want her to do anything else to it! I was absolutely thrilled with her final work!

A Forest Walk by Deusa Blumke - The Commissioned

I was so so so happy with it!

I pinched myself, as I couldn’t believe that it was MINE and that Deusa had painted it for me, based on my photos.

She did such an amazing job! Her layers of dots make the leaves and lights look like they are dancing and sparkling. The watery brown blobs make me smile, remembering how fun it was to stomp through the mud. She had captured that perfectly.

And can you see the 3 little figures? How gorgeous!
OK I know that it was my idea, but I love that they are there in the landscape and I have to search for them a bit with my eyes. And I love that they are in a kind of glowing spotlight on the ground. The visual balance of green dots all over the painting is just wonderful. It’s an absolutely gorgeous artwork to look and STARE at :)

I was gushing! I couldn’t wait to have it delivered.

I finalised the details on the website. The project was complete and it was published into my personal art gallery (on the site), along with a direct URL and details.

(You can view mine here: Karen Cheng’s Gallery )

Next, I paid a bit extra for secure international delivery, and after a few days, the painting arrived at my doorstep, wrapped up in lots of bubble wrap, sticky tape and a secure box.

A Forest Walk by Deusa Blumke - The Commissioned

I made a special little space in my home for it.

But then I felt that it got lost (visually) next to all my objects, so I hung it on the wall instead.

A Forest Walk by Deusa Blumke - The Commissioned

To be honest, I was very unsure whether this whole experience would run smoothly, and I was worried that I would have a poor experience. I mean, the whole IDEA of buying art online, sounds fraught with danger, dodgy sellers and con-artists!

But I was very, very pleased with the whole process. The customer service was excellent. There was an online chat function, and team members were all incredibly helpful.

I have already told 5-6 good friends about this site. I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut about it. Okay, I may have raved about it.

I also pointed them to another client review on the site, because I know lots of grandmothers, aunties, mothers who would LOVE to get something similar for their special girls. Basically she commissioned a watercolour illustration of her daughter dancing through a forest, with cute little forest creatures! So cute!

As for me, I am tempted to get another painting commissioned, as I have another two ideas:

1) A unique, abstract family portrait, with 5 abstract figures playing at the beach. I liked the idea of bright blue sky, blue-green ocean and yellow sand. I liked the idea of a bright, bold painting to remember all my family’s trips to the beach.

2) A still life of some pale pink roses in a crystal glass jar. I wanted pastel pinks, pale greens, lots of white and black. Basically I wanted a stylish, moody painting to hang above a small white table and add a colourful lift to a corner in my house.

What do you think??

Do pop over to The Commissioned for a peek!

Enjoy!


day of week

A Quick Break From The Computer…

14 September 2015

Coffee with the Hubs

Snuck out of the house and met up with my husband for a coffee break.

Still a bit crazy about him.

(And tiramisu. Always crazy about tiramisu.)


day of week

Running Like A Colourful Blur!

13 September 2015

Leggings from Ciao Bella Travel

This weekend, I managed to squeeze in a 12km run!

I’m getting so much better at juggling my time, work, mummy duties and fitness these day.

I say no to a lot of things. And I make time for the things that truly matter.

I’m one happy runner!

This is the first time I’ve worn my colourful leggings out running in full daylight. They looked amazing :)

I got them from Ciao Bella Travel (my reivew here) and remember there’s a 15% Off sitewide discount which ends on the 20th September!

 


day of week

What I Wore: Trans-Seasonal Black and White

11 September 2015


Boohoo Jacket | Country Road Tee | Isabel Marant Skirt | Tony Bianco Heels | Rebecca Minkoff Bag

When the weather is neither a scorching hot Summer day or a blistering cold Winter day, I’ve found that a leather jacket is pretty much the perfect layering solution for those in-between kind of days.

It’s just warm enough for the frosty mornings and not too warm for a bit of afternoon sunshine.

I like to pop it over a summery dress, a plain tank dress or even just over a tee and jeans. Sometimes I also wear a light knitted cardigan under the jacket too. I’m a wuss when it’s cold!

 

My jacket is non-genuine leather (from Boohoo) but it’s still buttery soft and has a great structure and shape.

I’m pretty fickle with leather jackets; my preference for styles change every season, so I’m unable to decide on ONE and commit to it as an investment. Oh and I don’t have $600 handy!

Even the well-priced, genuine leather jackets from various high street stores ($150 – $250) don’t seem to look all that great. The ones I’ve seen, look a bit plasticky, a bit wrinkled and they don’t even look like genuine leather!

So I much prefer to hunt down vegan leathers or leather-look styles, that actually look amazing.

This one has been pretty awesome. It has lasted me all winter and it’s still on high rotation!

What about you? Where did you buy your favourite leather or faux leather jacket from?

Have a wonderful weekend!

xxx


day of week

This Lace Dress!

10 September 2015

White Lace Dress From ASOS

I spotted this Petite Lace Dress With High Neck on ASOS a while ago and I absolutely fell in love with it!

I saved it in my wishlist but then I forgot all about it.

However, it turned out that my sister, who is in the UK, actually bought it but decided she wanted the black one instead. So she sent over the white one to me as a birthday present.

So much sister love!

So blessed to have a sister who’s the exact same clothes and shoe size as me! With similar taste in clothes too tee hee!

Thanks sis, love you to the moon and back! Maybe when we are finally on the same side of the earth, we can be twinsies and wear black and white.

White Lace Dress From ASOS

These were a few other white lace dresses that are in my wishlist.

From Left to Right:

Vila Premium Crochet Waisted Dress

Crochet Dress with Waist Tie

Hazel Lace Midi Dress

What do you think?

Happy shopping!


day of week

Wearing Aelkemi (With Video on Snapchat!)

9 September 2015

Aelkemi Dress

Ok so this just happened!

I popped into the Aelkemi store in Claremont to pick up dress for the upcoming show at the Telstra Perth Fashion Festival (happening next week!).

And I just snapchatted a video of me being a bit of a noob in this Aelkemi dress haha.

Aaak! The dress was amazing!

It was a bit tight to put on though. There was no zip. So I had to slip the whole thing over my head and get my head and shoulders through the circumference of the waist. I was in such a contorted tangle. I thought I would have to dislocate my shoulder to get myself out.

Now I know how babies feel. Just follow the light! Pop! Hello world!

Are you on Snapchat? I kinda just started! There’s video on my Story! Eeep!

Add me: heykarencheng

xxx


day of week

Kate Spade Lip Stud Earrings

8 September 2015

Kate Spade Lips Earrings

I am just loving Kate Spade’s accessories at the moment!

From glittery phone cases, to little polka-dot pouches, to spotty umbrellas, to gorgeous little stud earrings…. they are all so cute and whimsical, yet so polished and stylish.

Kate Spade Lips Earrings

I picked out these Lip Stud Earrings from her jewellery collection over at Shopbop and have been wearing them non stop with my boring casual tees, knits and jeans.

Simplest way to add a bit of fun to my daily outfit!


day of week

A Bouquet From My Garden

7 September 2015

Flowers for Leah

On the weekend, my niece turned 13!

Aaah, I remember when she was born! I was pregnant with my first child, unsure about being a new mother, I was still anxious and undecided about things like whether to use cloth nappies or disposable nappies. And yet, I was so excited that my child would have a similar-aged cousin. Seems like a lifetime ago :)

Before we headed out to the 13th birthday party, I prepared a giftcard (that’s what she wanted), but I just felt so… lazy, cheap, thoughtless and uninspired!

I thought I could do better.

So I crept around my garden and picked some simple flowers, bundled them up, stuck them in a clean mayonnaise jar, wrapped them up with some brown paper, brown string and voilà – a cute and simple gift!

I’m so happy with how they turned out.

I had lots of left over flowers, so I made one for my house too.

Hope you all have a gorgeous day!

xxx


day of week

My Mediocre Attempts at Cooking

6 September 2015

So according to my blog, it must seem that everything I cook is just FABULOUS DARLING!

I don’t feature my mediocre stuff, because reeeeally, as much as people say that it’s trending to #KEEPITREAL, who actually wants to click on and read about someone’s mediocre attempts at cooking? Not me.

Sure, I can see appeal of featuring EPIC FAILED COOKING ATTEMPTS. That would be funny!

But mediocre is just so, mediocre. Right?

What? Did I hear you say no?

Alrighty then!

Tart Fail

1. Raw Coconut Chia Pudding on Hazelnut Tart  (Like eating squishy cardboard!)

Ok so I made a “semi raw” Chocolate Raspberry Tart last week. I thought I would be clever and make a proper “raw” version, with zero added sugar (except for a few dates).

Tart Fail

Looks so pretty right? Styled so nicely right?

Nope. Ugh, it was so bland and weird!

It was as if I had a head cold and I lost my sense of taste – I could feel the interesting textures in my mouth, but there was ZERO flavour haha!

Plus I was trying to do too much by combining two desserts (chia pudding and hazelnut crust). Lesson learned: keep it simple.

No diary, no gluten, no sugar, no cooking and… no taste! Ha!

Pancakes Fail

2. Gluten Free Pancakes (Tough like rubber!)

I don’t know where I got this recipe. No doubt some hipster hippy healthy food blog. Hmm, it wasn’t exactly a winner.

I bought some crazy expensive gluten-free flour and mixed it with a weird ratio of potato flour, brown rice flour and coconut flour. It was just a bit silly and complicated. Too painful for Sunday morning pancakes if you ask me.

They’d make a great underlay for your wooden floors!

Ribs Fail

3. Honey Pork Ribs (Hello Heart Disease!)

Maybe I bought the wrong kind of ribs. Maybe I added too much soy sauce.

Whatever the case, it felt like I was eating big rectangles of rubber fat coated in salt.

I could feel my arteries clogging up with each bite. Aakkk.

Frozen Buns Fail

4. Re-baked Homemade Bread rolls (Or, How To make rocks!)

I recently found a fantastic bread recipe and have been making lots of bread for my family.

But I really wanted to try half-baking the bread, freezing it, then re-baking them at another time.

This was my second attempt and I still couldn’t get it right. They came out under-cooked and tasting like warmed up play dough – gross!

Inspired? I bet you are!

Happy cooking!


day of week

Are my kids too old to plant flowers?

4 September 2015

Ah… with school, homework, sports, and so many after-school activities, it feels like my husband and I are doing less and less hands-on projects with our kids these days.

I used to do so much with my two older kids! And I feel that my youngest boy has missed out on so much.

Maybe they are growing up. Maybe in my head, I’ve moved on. So maybe I’m trying to teach them to have more independence. Maybe they are growing up in a world where they prefer a much more sophisticated level of engagement?

Ugh,whatever it is, I feel that it’s now a lot trickier to engage my kids in these hands-on projects.

I mean, my kids play a video game where they plant a garden (with sunflowers, pea shooters, rolling walnuts, cherry bombs) that defends their home from waves of skateboard riding zombies. How do we compete with that?!?

But they are still kids!

Our kids! So who else are going to convince them to do these quaint projects with us?! (Whilst enduring a certain amount of whinging and crappy attitude haha.)

Planting Flowers

My husband enlisted our 6 year old to make a flower garden.

He was quite reluctant to start. My son, that is.

They took a trip to the shops and bought a bag of soil, seeds and fertiliser. My husband taught him about soil consistency, compost, drainage, planting seeds… all that good stuff.

Planting Flowers

They cleaned up a whole stack of old pots and set to work.

Planting Flowers

In a world of instant gratification and success, growing flowers doesn’t rate very highly!

You prep for hours. Then the act of planting seeds takes a grand total of 2 minutes. And all you have to show for it all is a bunch of dirty pots. It’s admittedly rather anti-climatic haha!

Oh well.

My son enjoyed the attention, he enjoyed being outside and getting his hands dirty.

So I guess it was 3 hours well spent?

Parenting satisfaction rating: Unsure!


day of week

Betts Spring Summer 2015 Launch

3 September 2015

Betts Shoes SS15

Betts Shoes recently launched a truck load of their new season shoes with an eye-popping, tropical tea party for VIP guests.

It was all very pretty and well done. The evening featured a little styling session, makeup session, and a spread of cute lollies, cute cupcakes, cute bottles, cute finger food, cute biscuits… I just wanted to gobble everything up!

Betts Shoes SS15

The shoes? Think strappy gladiators, leather slides, lace up heels, retro sneakers, block heels and cut outs.

Everything was super stylish, very on-trend, with affordable prices. I liked it.

Betts Shoes SS15

I came away from the party with a little take home gift, these strappy, block-heeled sandals called, Bridgette-B – which I chose after long a deliberation between these canvas slippers (with burger and fries! so tempted!), lace up gladiators and cut-out gladiators.

I wanted a pair of block-heeled tan sandals (that were not too high), that looked a bit casual to wear with denim shorts for summer.

Although they’re not leather, they look and feel like leather, and they are soft and comfy to wear. Can’t wait for the warmer weather to arrive.

Betts Shoes SS15

The next day, I thought I’d play with a bit of flower styling in my studio.

I bought the hydrangeas and lisianthus stalks, but the rest of the flowers were from my garden!

I had so much fun! The flowers were so pretty!

Betts Shoes SS15

Yay I loved the result!

A big thanks to Betts!


day of week

Super-Colourful and Super-Comfy Workout Leggings

1 September 2015

Brought to you by Ciao Bella Travel

Hi everyone!

I’m working together with Ciao Bella Travel to show off their latest range of printed workout leggings from deluxe brand Abi and Joseph.

I also have a special discount code for 15% OFF the entire website (including sale items). Just enter the code “KAREN15” at the check out. Promo expires on the 20th September 2015.

Abi & Joseph Leggings from Ciao Bella Travel

So… do you own colourful leggings?

I took a peek into my activewear drawer and counted um… 6 PAIRS OF BLACK LEGGINGS!! I have soft bamboo ones, high performance ones and general ones I use for the gym/workouts/pilates/yoga. Some are a bit old, saggy and see-through (oops!!) and yes, I probably should throw them out!

I’ve been looking for some colourful and comfy leggings that I can wear for yoga and for running.

I’ve seen lots of women wearing brightly coloured ones – and while I love the look of them – they are priced around $100 to $130, eeeps. Yep, I procrastinated, couldn’t find a print that I liked and so I never dived in to buy a pair. I thought I’d rather use the money to buy a new pair of sexy sneakers?

Anyway, the team at Ciao Bella Travel sent over a few colourful leggings to test out (their bestsellers!)… and BINGO they are priced from $82 – $89.

Then with my 15% discount, they will be around $70 – $76. Amazing price for luxe workout leggings.

Abi & Joseph Leggings from Ciao Bella Travel

This pair is the Abi and Joseph Acacia Bloom Full Length Tights. I adore the print! It’s so loud, crazy and colourful. It definitely puts me into an active zone.

This is the full length style, however I tucked up the ends of the legs by a few centimeters (because I’m short). I like how the leggings taper in at my ankle, even though I’ve turned them up.

Best thing about them: THEY ARE MID-RISE! I can wear a crop top without feeling like I have to “let it all hang out”. The wide waist band is comfortable and firm on my abs and core… tucking me in all the right places.

It is made from a high performance fabric, which is quick drying and breathable. It is stretchy, strong, soft (with a cotton-jersey feel) and has a four-way stretch that allows for optimal movement. They are comfortable enough for me to wear all day (I have done this a few times!).

It doesn’t feel slinky, shiny, plasticky, rubbery or like a scuba diving wetsuit.

The manufacturers rate these leggings as: Ideal for high intensity interval training and gym sessions.

Abi & Joseph Leggings from Ciao Bella Travel

These Abi and Joseph Dreamcatcher 7/8 Tights are also rated for high intensity interval training and gym sessions.

And again they have excellent fit and feel, just like the Acacia Bloom pair.

I am crazy in love with this unique print – it’s my favourite print of the lot. It is so eye catching and whimsical. I wore it to a yoga class and THREE ladies said they loved my leggings and wanted to know where I got them! I felt like I was being stalked!

Abi & Joseph Leggings from Ciao Bella Travel

(Photo: After 10 minutes of trying to take a photo of myself holding a 3kg weight at 90 degrees, perfectly still, flexing, making a perfect wincing expression, while on my tippy toes….. my arms were jelly!!)

These tights have a 7/8 leg length, and are supposed to sit at mid-calf. But of course, they sit lower on me because I’m short. I really like this length and I think they are a much better fit for me. I already have 2 black leggings with this 7/8 length.

For all these Abi and Joseph tights, I’m wearing a Size XS, and I’m usually a Size AUS 6.

When I lifted the tights out of the bag, I was shocked by how TINY they looked. They looked like they were Size XXXS?? I groaned and thought I would have to go through the hassle of returning and exchanging them. But when I slipped them on, they stretched nicely and easily over my legs, hips and waist – without squeezing me to death. I didn’t feel like I was being eaten by a snake! They felt lovely to wear.

Oh and did I mention how much I love the MID-RISE waist?!

Abi & Joseph Leggings from Ciao Bella Travel

Lastly these are the Abi and Joseph Waikiki 7/8 Tights.

I like to think of them as the perfect “in between black leggings and colourful leggings”; when I’m neither in the mood for blending-into-the-background or fist-pumping-with-confidence.

This print is actually kind of cool and they look a bit like skinny, printed cropped jeans!

Of course, if you’re not into printed leggings, the Ciao Bella Travel store has lots of BLACK leggings, the Abi and Joseph ones are priced at $75 (so that’s $63.75 with the 15% off discount) and there are loose fitting yoga/pilates pants too.

Or pick up a versatile Sacha Drake dress (read my review here) or comfortable bamboo tops.

I hope you find something you like! Happy shopping!

Enjoy!

xxx