Sunday, July 31, 2011

Operation Declutter

Project 1: Bathroom

Before - BAD


Interim - better but not good enough


Solution - Courtesy of Officeworks


Now




Project 2: Shoes

Before - DISASTER!



Solution - these beauties from Bunnings


Now


Next task will be to take a photo of every pair of shoes and stick them on each box.


Also tidied up our casual shoes rack


Two large bags of old shoes for charity


Bye bye shoe boxes!


It feels so good to be organised and know where my things belong :-D

P.S. I did a bit of decluttering of the blog too - do you like the new look?

Added 1 August: For those interested in the clear shoe boxes, here's a photo of the packaging. From my recollection they were $15 per pack.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Custom design Etsy earrings

Before I made my first pairs of earrings, I was searching around Etsy for some new bling.

I liked this pair:


But I have quite a few pairs of pearl earrings already. I thought it would be nice to replace the pearls with some onyx drops like these.


I contacted the seller of the earrings about the modification but I didn't receive a reply. Then I remembered Wellstrung, the Melbourne-based Etsy seller I bought from last year. I sent her the request and she took up the challenge.

A few days later Bernadette came back with some designs. I was blown away by how beautiful they were!


I'm not sure why Bernadette used turquoise drops in the first design but I was so glad she did. I have been looking for something like that for AGES. There are a few pairs in my Etsy favourites - maybe she saw those? Anyhow I love the drops but I thought the earrings looked a bit too long, so I asked Bernadette to remove the circle in the middle. And voilà, a beautiful pair of earrings were born.


She created a mock up with a red drop too. Beautiful, but my heart was set on the turquoise. Someone snap them up!


And here's the second design.


I love love love the top part of the design with the 2 circle and the black sphere suspended in the bigger circle. So I asked Bernadette to remove the bottom part.


How pretty are they?

I thought the drops were sitting a bit too low, so I asked Bernadette if she could use the same type of fitting as the photo I sent her initially. She said yes but she had to order the parts.

A few weeks later Bernadette told me they were ready and sent me a photo of the finished product.


They are just perfection! I was in love.


I was so excited when they arrived at work. And I was right to be - they were even more beautiful in person.


And here are the model shots :-D



I am so chuffed with the earrings. A big thank you to Bernadette for her beautiful designs and for being such a lovely seller to deal with. Do yourself a favour and check out her Etsy store!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Leona for the whole family

Regular CCM readers may know that I'm a bit of a Leona Edmiston fan. I think they're great for work - elegant and easy to look after. When I was in Hong Kong earlier this year I went shopping with my sister R for some work attire - she is time poor and doesn't have much opportunity to shop for herself. Leona is having a sale and I thought she might like a few new outfits.

I went to Myer in the city last Friday. I was assuming that my sister and I wear the same size (she is shorter than me but she is more ... well endowed), so if she doesn't like them I can keep them. Mr Curious said I was crazy to assume that we wear the same size (which is probably true!). I'm waiting for R to send me her measurements, I'll exchange for size if needed be.

Instead of just posting the model photos from Leona's website, I thought it'll be fun to run a comparison with yours truly, so you can see what the dresses look like in real life.

Dress one Ivy from the A/W 2011 collection. I've been eyeing it for a while and at $100 it's hard to say no.



Sorry for the blurry photo, I was using the self-timer on the camera and focus was not working properly. I hope you can at least see the very flattering silhouette.

I did take a close-up of the top part of the dress.


The tassles are nice without being over the the board.

I also bought two dresses from the Ruby range. I didn't pay much attention to the Primrose Panel when I saw it on the website but it looks better in person.



Mr C took over as photographer (thanks babe!). It is a very easy dress to wear. The red piping around the panel flips to the wrong side from time to time but it's a small complaint.

I also bought the Nicola in steel. I already own the original Nicola in navy and it is such a flattering dress.



I hope R likes them!

I also tried on a few other dresses:
  • Venus - it was a bit too figure hugging
  • Latifa - for myself. I love the print of this dress but for some reason the dress did not sit properly on me :-(
I noticed a few people visited my blog after searching for "differences between Leona and Ruby dresses", so I'm going to take the opportunity to give my impressions.

To me, the main difference between the two lines is the fabric used. The material used for the main line is usually thicker and of a higher quality. The belts on dresses from the main line (I have the Fern) are reinforced and more sturdy. Otherwise I don't see that much difference between the two lines. The prices of the main line are going up a fair bit so the Ruby line presents great value.

I visited Chatswood over the weekend and out of habit I went into the LE store. This time I bought something for myself - two pairs of Decadent Control Opaque stockings. I have a pair already, and while the "control" is minimal, they are true opaques and they feel luxurious. I also like that they sew in a tag at one end so I always know which side is the front.


I also bought two gorgeous dresses for my lovely nieces. Are the Frenchie French just the cutest?


Overall Ms Edmiston made quite an impression ... on my credit card ;-p

P.S. I notice a bit of piling on my navy Nicola (machine wash under delicate cycle in a laundry bag, then air-dry), so in the future I'm going to turn the dresses inside out before washing.

Update 26/7/2011: Turns out that Mr C was right and my sister is way smaller than me so I took two of the dresses back to exchange (I kept the Ivy for myself ....). There are some further discounts and I thought I'll try on a few other dresses. Next thing you know, I left the shop with 2 more dresses ...

The Cami Collar from the Ruby collection - I really liked the Clementine Cloud but it was sold out before I had a chance to buy it. I thought the Cami may be too "schoolgirl" but it's pretty nice actually. I'm going to wear this to work tomorrow :-D [You can see me in the dress here].


When I was at the store on Friday I saw a woman trying on a fuchsia version of the Pia and I thought she looked really nice. I gave the Pia a try and it was surprisingly flattering! Not something I can wear to work but good for a night out. I'm planning to wear it for our romantic dinner at Melbourne this Sunday.


I think I need to stop looking at Leona dresses for a while ;-P

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Music On My Mind - Amy Winehouse - Love is a Losing Game

Dear Amy

I hope you can find the peace that eluded you in life.

Thank you for the beautiful music you made.


Love
Ms Curious

P.S. Read this beautiful tribute to Amy by Russell Brand.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Healthy Life Part 6 - This Week

I haven't forgotten about my health kick! Last week was challenging because of everyone's sickness and both my exercise (only 1 yoga class) and my eating suffered. So this week I'm doing my best to get back on track.

The suspension straps made an appearance on my training on Monday and it was tough! I quite like it though - it adds a bit of variety.


With the torrential rain in Sydney I suspect my session today will be cancelled. I worked up enough motivation to exercise at home for the first time yesterday. I tried Nat's 20 minute fat blasting exercises. I used a fold-up chair for step-ups and tricep dips and 3.8kg dumbbells. The exercises look simple but it was hard work!

It took me just under 25 minutes to complete 4 sets (goal is to finish 5 sets in 20 minutes) so I have plenty of scope to improve. I'll use this as a benchmark - my first goal is to finish 4 sets within the 20 minutes.

I'm starting to look into supplements. Nat recommended cod liver oil capsules which I am taking semi-regularly (I'm too forgetful!). I placed an order for these goodies last night.




OK, I sneaked in a treat as well. It's meant to be a healthy version of Crunch bars!


Wishing you all a healthy and fulfilling weekend. And to my Sydney readers - don't let the bad weather dampen your spirits!

P.S. I'm thinking about starting a photo-based food diary. Anyone interested?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Well hello, Kate Spade! Part 1

Two different shopping journeys both ended up with Kate Spade. This is the first one.

Mr Curious received his bonus (not anything wow but nice nonetheless) and he offered to buy me a present. It didn't take long for me to think "handbag"! I didn't find anything with the right price/desirable ratio from the usual suspects (Shopbop, TheOutnet, NAP). A timely promotional e-mail* from Nordstrom about their sale piqued my interest. I don't usually look at Nordstrom because of their high international postage but their sales are pretty good.

(*Yes, those promo e-mails work!)

It didn't take long to find my bag of choice. The Kate Spade Fisher handheld satchel fits right into my attraction to structured bags. The last two bags I bought are bright-coloured so it's nice to go for a neutral tone. The discount (33%, to $US230) made the postage ($US44) easier to accept.

The bag took just over a week to arrive.





The shape and the size of the bag are perfect. I also like that it's lightweight.

The tan colour is lovely and the bright orange lining creates a nice contrast. By the way, the colour of the bag is the photo below is the closest to real life.


Because of the light colour and the fine leather, I am going to spray it with a stain protection spray before use.

The double compartment is a neat idea. I hate rummaging through the bag to find what I need, so it'll be good to separate things into 2 groups.

On the not-as-good side:
  • The small spade logo at the top of the bag creates a fairly big dent in the leather (you can see it in the first 2 photos). I'm hoping usage will relax the leather a bit.
  • I prefer zippers with 2 sliders so I don't need to pull the slider all the way to one end.
  • Some of the leather looks a bit stressed already. 

This worries me a bit; I don't want the bag to age prematurely! I'll have to see how it goes.

Those reservations aside, I'm very happy with the bag. Thank you Mr Curious! <3

Monday, July 18, 2011

Forgettable weekend

Actually, this post should be called "forgettable week". TLG was sick for most of the week (he had another cold after the ear infection that was caused by the initial cold!), I was sick on Friday with sore throat and body aches, and Mr Curious had a really bad cold over the weekend. We were going to host a dinner gathering with a few friends and had to cancel.

I was planning to blog about my new purchases but this photo I took earlier this week will have to make do for now.


There were a few bright spots in the blahness that was this weekend.

I took TLG to the Northside Produce Markets on Saturday and picked up lots of fresh meat and veggies. On my must-buy list are:
  • Over the Moon Milk (read my previous post)
  • Lamb patties from Ladysmith Lamb - will be cooking them tonight *yum*
Update: Here's my dinner tonight - doesn't it look good?

  • Fresh salmon fillets from Sapphire Coast - it is hands-down the best salmon I've ever purchased, and it is around the same price as salmon from the supermarkets! Incredible. They are vaccum packed so they last for longer. 
For lunch I ate half a fillet as sashimi (I wish I had wasabi at home!) and on Sunday night I pan-fried some for dinner. Served with a squeeze of lemon juice on top - so good.


Mr Curious was still sick as a dog on Sunday morning so I decided to take TLG somewhere nice for breakfast. I've heard good things about coffee at The Source Espresso at Mosman so it was our destination. It was pretty packed when we arrived. TLG and I were lucky to get seats straight away. TLG did not stay in his seat for long...


I ordered the free range egg, mayo and watercress on grainy bread ($9.50 from recollection). I was expecting a poached egg but it came in sandwich form.


It wasn't much to look at but let me tell you, it was awesome! So creamy and tasty. Highly recommended.

I enjoyed the coffee too although it's not the best I've had. I was surprised by how hot it was, and I admired that they were able to make it that hot without burning the coffee (my pet hate).

I ordered a small piece of cake for TLG, gave them a $20 and received less than $1 in change(!) I guess that's the price of going somewhere trendy (Peter Fitzsimons was there in his trademark red bandanna with his son, who looks just like Lisa Wilkinson).

TLG and I roamed around Mosman for a bit afterwards. He loves fire truck and I showed him around the fire station. A fireman spotted us and gave us a tour around the station and TLG was allowed to "drive" the fire engine! He was a VERY happy boy.

I saw these art-deco style earrings by Sybella (available at Baku) when I was at Mosman last time and fell in love with them. I admired them from a distance this time.


They're not that expensive (around $100 I think) but that's a fair amount for costume jewellery, and since I have another etsy earrings order coming I thought I'd resist .. for now.

Those were just about all the good things that happened this weekend - intersected with a sick husband and TLG screaming "NO" to every nappy change and all through bathtime. Here's hoping everyone's back to 100% soon.

And I have something to look forward to. Mr Curious and I are celebrating our dating anniversary with an overnight trip to Melbourne in a fortnight sans TLG. Flights and hotel are booked but we haven't decided on activites/meals yet. Any recommendations?

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