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Seriously Blogged Up

14 June 2013

My 4 year old and I went for a long cycle the other day.

We rode through parks and playgrounds, and eventually we stopped at the top of a little hill, looking down into a small pond. Our eyes widened.

We know this pond quite well. The edge is usually full of green water reeds, and it is teaming with ducks, water birds and insects.

Today however, the pond looked as if there was some major construction or dredging going on. The water was gross, brown and septic looking. It was dirty, muddy and messy.

“Whoa! What’s going on??” The both of us exclaimed.

Pond Blogged

Upon careful observation, it looked like the local gardeners had dug up a whole lot of dying water reeds and made piles of the rotten debris. It was not a pretty sight. Or smell.

I was going to turn around and explain my observations to my 4 year old, when he asked,

“Mum what happened to the pond? Why is it all blogged up like that? It looks seriously blogged. Yuck I hate all this blogging stuff. Hang on. Don’t you have a blog? Is this what you do?”

I stood there looking at the pond. At that exact scene in the photo above.

And number of thoughts ran through my head.

Yes. The word “BLOG” is not a very pretty word.

Yes. If you join the words “Blocked” and “Bog” you do get the word “Blogged”.

After 13 years of running my blog, I think my 4yo had possibly pinpointed the most natural-sounding meaning for the word.

I wanted to laugh and cry.

And I just said, “Yep, it looks seriously blogged.”


Nikon School for Fashion Photographers and Bloggers

9 September 2011

The good folks at My Nikon Life want to spread the word about some fashion photography courses coming up as part of the Perth Fashion Festival – both of which I’ll be a part of this year!

To find out more and to book classes, go to Nikon School at Perth Fashion Festival.

Nikon School at Perth Fashion FestivalFashion Photography MasterClass
With Nationally Acclaimed Fashion Photographer Christian Blanchard

Learn from one of the leaders amongst Australian fashion photographers. Named as one of Capture Magazine’s Top Ten Photographers, Perth native Christian Blanchard has quickly risen to the top in the fast paced and competitive world of fashion photography.

Gain experience and insight into what it takes to make a shoot magic through lighting, direction, creative narrative and post-production. A rare opportunity not to be missed!

Sunday 25 September, 2011
10am-4pm
Tickets $349

Nikon School at Perth Fashion FestivalFashion Bloggers: Shooting the Look
Fashion Blog Photography and Street Portraiture, with Photographer Christian Blanchard

Think Sartorialist meets Subiaco! Not to be missed, this special workshop will see you photographing street style with live models, while gaining expert insights into portraiture and street fashion. A fun filled few hours that will bring your abilities to the next level.

Friday 23rd September, 2011 (Invitation Only)
1pm-4pm

Saturday 24 September, 2011
10am – 1pm
Tickets $119

Nikon School at Perth Fashion FestivalRocking the Runway
Lighting and Technique with Renowned Runway Photographer Stefan Gosatti

Learn how to shoot the runway, while capturing and composing brilliant images and fashion at its very best. Official Perth Fashion Festival Photographer Stefan Gosatti offers insight into the composition, lighting and etiquette it takes to successfully shoot the glamorous and high intensity world of Runway Fashion.

Participants will get the opportunity to practice their technique with an in-class runway, live model and guidance from one of Australia’s best.

Saturday 24 September, 2011
12pm-4pm
Tickets $149


How Glamorous, Not!- Being a Fashion Blogger

18 October 2010

I’ve had a few e-mails from readers regarding my post a couple of weeks ago about my trip to Sydney to attend the Stella McCartney for Target launch. The readers comments were all along the lines of “how lucky you are” and “how glamorous!”

Well…I won’t deny, it was very cool to attend the launch party, see some fabulous clothes, and have the opportunity to meet so many people in the fashion business.

But the actual event only took 3 hours, and I was away from home for over 48 hours.

So here is a fast summary of my other, very un-glamorous 45 hours.

Taxi to airport. Checked-in my baggage. Met up with another Perth fashion blogger going to the same event – Emma of Dropstitch. We spent 2 hours gossiping about fashion and blogging while waiting for the plane.

As we boarded the budget airliner for the 5 hour flight, I realised I was quite tired, so I tried to sleep. But I was also excited and impatient. If I had been sitting near the pilot of the plane, I would have been saying “Are we nearly there yet? Are we nearly there yet?”

I also realised that I was hungry, so I bought an economy meal from the economy airline.

sydney-target-airplanefood
Glamorous!

Emma and I finally arrived in Sydney at 10pm, and we were delivered by taxi to our very, very, VERY nice 5 STAR hotel on Sydney Harbour. In fact, my room was so perfect I was scared to sit on the bed in case I ruined how well made it was. I was like – “Is this really for me?”

It was 12am and I was really hungry. Just order room service, right? After all, the hotel has a super-chef downstairs just waiting to cook us a la carte meals.

BUT.

The FIVE STAR hotel was being paid for by Target, and the deal was that we had to pay for any FIVE STAR extras ourselves. The mini-bar had a “condoms and personal lubricant” kit that cost $18. If just two condoms can cost that much, I was sure that room service would cost at least $50.

So I rang Emma, and we went out and found an all night hot dog place.

sydney-target-harrys

We sat next to a service station on a busy road to eat them.

The hot dog was soooo yummy, and cost a lot less than two mini-bar condoms.

sydney-target-hotdog

But I admit, it was not very glamorous.

Back to the hotel room, I was so tired that I crashed into bed.

I still couldn’t sleep, because I was probably over excited. All the noises were different, the smells were different, the bed was too bouncy and big, I felt lonely, I missed my husband, and I was worried that my children could be in danger. What will the event be like? Did I pack my toothpaste? I hope I didn’t forget to take my silver earrings!  And I kept waking up from my “sleep” thinking that I missed my plane.

The next day was just a blur, especially since I hadn’t slept properly.

I decided to have a morning bath, hoping to calm myself down. But again I couldn’t relax properly, because I wanted to make the most of the day.

I took another taxi and zoomed across town to have  lunch with a friend. I had only been to Sydney twice before, very briefly, and I was keen to check out a whole range of things. But there just wasn’t enough time.

This is what Sydney’s Botanic Gardens looks like from a fast moving taxi.

sydney-target-taxi
Apparently, it is simply beautiful in there (sigh). Oh well, maybe next time.

Took another taxi after lunch.  As I was standing outside my hotel, I realised that I actually had half an hour before I needed to get ready for the launch event. So I took a short walk along the harbour.

Even though I am from Perth, a city which has a massive, beautiful river running right through it, Sydney Harbour is also pretty spectacular. For a few moments, I felt calm and content, and I wanted to get a picture of myself with the harbour in the background. I set the camera up exactly like I wanted it. I asked a random person walking by, a European guy, to take the picture, and I explained that I wanted my whole body in the picture.

As he was framing me up, I noticed he reset the zoom completely. When he showed me the picture, I was just head and shoulders with some trees in the background, and I could have been anywhere on planet Earth that had trees. He offered to take the picture again, and I reset the zoom, and asked him to make sure that all of me was in the frame. So he immediately played with the zoom again, and I just knew he was going to get it wrong. And he did. So the third time, I carefully explained to him that he didn’t need to adjust the zoom, and I pointed to my shoes, and said that I wanted them in the frame as well.

He played with the zoom AGAIN, and took another picture. I thanked him, took my camera, and headed back to the hotel. Here is the picture.

sydney-target-portrait

He completely missed my shoes. Arghh! At least it looks like I’m in Sydney in this photo. My smile is completely fake. I was so irritated with the guy.

Back at the hotel – shower, make-up, get dressed.

sydney-target-bathroom

I don’t usually like to use products provided by the hotel. Not to mention, you can never tell which item are not complimentary. Thus the sinktop was totally covered with all my girlie crap. I was not looking forward to packing it all up again later.

Since the location for the event was a WATERSIDE MANSION, I thought it would be super fun to catch a water taxi to the event, not to mention, give us the opportunity to take some awesome photos of the harbour at sunset! So I organised for all the other bloggers, who were also going to the event, to meet up at the hotel so we could catch a water taxi together!

I imagined that the water taxi would pull up to a set of steps leading down to the water, and that we would all simply step onto the boat like royal princesses.

But no. Five of us, all girls, had to STEP BACKWARDS down a step ladder, like in a swimming pool, to get to the boat. So down we went, one at a time, very, very carefully. Thankfully, I was wearing full-soled platforms, but most of the other fashion bloggers were wearing high heels. Oh how glamorous!

sydney-target-stepladder

Notice in the background, a handbag, which we had to hand down to the driver, which he placed precariously on the very edge of the bobbing boat, ready to spill all the camera gear into the harbour!

The party was fun, and fabulous and glamorous, and the clothes were great. I met celebrities, and chatted to heaps of people. All good. The party ended.

But rather than limousines to whisk us away from the mansion, we had to queue for normal taxis that seemed to take forever to arrive on a cool Friday night. Not so glamorous! My feet were killing me!

My deal with Target was that I could say whatever I liked about the event and the clothes, but I had to agree to submit whatever I wrote by midday the next day!

Since I was flying back to Perth early the next morning, I had to write up my story immediately after the event.

So while all the models and other beautiful people were off at the inevitable fashion after-event party having wild sex and snorting cocaine with rock stars, I was headed back to my hotel room.

(NOTE: I have never actually been to a fashion after party. In fact, I’ve never met anyone who has ever claimed to be at one of these legendary parties. And I have no evidence that they even happen. But I am absolutely sure that’s what they are all doing, after every fashion event. Lifestyles of the rich and famous, right?!)

As soon as I got back to my room, I called my husband in Perth. I wanted to gush about the event, but he just wanted to know where I kept the spare nappies and how to get poo stains out of the couch covers.

It was like hitting a brick wall of reality for me, and I was suddenly very, very tired.

But I still had to write up the story.

sydney-target-shagging

So this was me, exhausted, alone, in a huge, luxury bed with four different kinds of pillows and silk sheets, trying to do my homework.

But then I realised I was not completely alone.

I head the noise of two voices coming through the wall behind me, from the room next door. After a few minutes, the noise changed, and it quickly becomes obvious that the room next door was the honeymoon suite, and a just-married couple were making good use of their $18 condom kit.

The man must have been an athlete, because he had a LOT of stamina, and the woman was probably an actress, because she was very, very expressive – with no vocal inhibitions. It went on for a LOOOOOOOONG time, and there was a lot of sounds of furniture thumping against the walls, and it ALL MADE IT VERY HARD FOR ME TO CONCENTRATE on finishing my homework.

It was totally like a scene in a comedy movie. I was sitting there, with the noise and thumping going on, and I’m rolling my eyes going, FOR GOODNESS SAKE JUST FINISH ALREADY!!!

Oh, the glamour!!

And again I hardly slept, because I was so scared of oversleeping and missing my morning flight home.

As I checkout out the next morning, the hotel handed me a bill.

sydney-target-bill

They had got me with the phone call I made to my husband. I slapped my head with my hand as I realised I had used the hotel’s landline rather than my mobile phone. ARGH!!

Taxi to the airport. Check-in. Expensive and not very nice airport breakfast.

I was so looking forward to sleep on the economy flight home.

But, I found that I was on the same flight as the Australian Youth Choir, who were doing free recitals for the whole plane. They were heavenly, their combined voices transcending the merely human – but I didn’t give a damn, I just wanted to sleep.

sydney-target-choir

This finally finished, and as they went back to their seats, I realised their seats were dotted all around me, and when these kids were not singing like angels, they were just a bunch of bratty, snotty nosed teenagers, talking, gossiping, jumping, laughing, and kicking the back of my seat.

Did I mention there were a few crying babies on the same flight? I love babies, and I always feel bad for parents when their babies cry during a flight. So I shall refrain from complaining. But it was awful!

So I couldn’t sleep, and I reluctantly decided to buy a $9 movie to watch. It was “Eclipse” from the Twilight series. I had resolved never, ever to watch any of this trashy romance rubbish, but I was emotionally vulnerable and weak willed.

sydney-target-eclipse

Now, I’m hooked. I want to see all the movies, read all the novels, become facebook friends with Robert Pattinson, and change all my background wallpapers to that warewolf guy.

And when I got home (in yet another taxi), I discovered that my husband and three children were still wearing exactly the same clothes as they had been when I left home two nights before!

(But I slept like a baby that night. As Dorothy said – There’s no place like home).


Sportsgirl Fashion Blogger Challenge: 1 Dress, 2 Outfits

6 August 2010

Sportsgirl Fashion Blogger Challenge

A few weeks ago, the online team at Sportsgirl asked me whether I’d like to be featured on their blog and participate in a fashion challenge – I said sure!!

They sent over a dress and when I opened the package, I went – ARGH I HATE FLORAL!

My results were published on their Sportsgirl Blog, along with outfits from two other Australian fashion bloggers. Check it out!

Basically I was trying to play down the DELICATE, FEMININE FLORAL print, by mixing the dress with “tough chick” items, and then “boyfriend style” items.

First Outfit
Dress: Candice Tunic Dress from Sportsgirl
Jacket: Tuxedo Style Blazer from Cue
Shoes: Over the Knee Boots from Betts
Belt: Leather Studded Belt from Warehouse London

Second Outfit (worn as a top)
Top: Candice Tunic Dress from Sportsgirl
Jacket: Rayon Twill Blazer from AL&ALICIA
Shorts: Boy Washed Shorts from AL&ALICIA
Shoes: Suede Heeled Lace Ups from Betts

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.


Ten Years Of Blogging

13 October 2009

Ten years ago, in 1999, I published the first ever version of my website. Since I receive so many emails from people asking me how I got started, what software I use, and if I make any money, I thought this would be a good opportunity to reflect on a decade of blogging!

Please be warned, this is quite a long post, because it is covering a whole decade!

Beginnings
My first ever glimpse of the impending Internet world was at high school in 1995. I studied a subject called “Applied Computing”. My teacher told me about “e-mail” and how you can send messages from one computer to another – I thought she was kidding! I had no idea that computers – in different locations – could be connected to each other.

It is a good example of how amazingly fast the Internet developed that only four years later, I published my own website.

Although I was addicted to IRC chat and message boards while studying design and advertising at university, it was not until 1999, that I taught myself how to make a website, in order to show off my portfolio of work.

I was 21. I was single, irresponsible, a spoilt rich kid, emotionally insecure, in and out of relationships, a creative but naïve young woman, working in the crazy rat race of advertising – and I was trying to find happiness.

I became absolutely OBSESSED with the Internet and all things related to personal websites.

I would spend literally 20 hours a day online, sleeping at 4am, and then waking at 8am to check my email, before breakfast! Personal websites were like an underground community – running rampant with page counters, guestbooks, comment boxes, link-backs, webrings, countless internet awards, and small and large online groups.

I was astounded that I could get to know people living in the US, UK, Europe and Asia – people who had the same interests as I did, living similar lives, but all over the world. It was all very, very exciting. I loved the fact that I could communicate directly with my readers. And for it to happen in real time, was pretty amazing. In the early days, I had a hit counter on my site. I was thrilled when 100 people visited my site in a day!

My

My site in 1999, was essentially an online portfolio, with lots of extra information about me. I had lots of different sections for my resume, photos, contacts, my likes and dislikes. The most popular section was my “Soapbox”. It was like a daily news section, where I updated every day and I ran it like an e-zine.

Becoming Popular
Things started to take off when my website began to get featured in some newspapers, and I won some web awards. From there, it spread by word of mouth – and word of internet. People online and offline were telling their friends about my site. My readership grew and grew, which was completely unexpected to me.

I think one of the main reasons my blog developed a strong following is because I am a designer. I wanted to create a unique experience for my readers. I was very interested in visual communication and interface design. I was meticulous with its presentation and style. I loved experimenting with my visual layout (eg. 3 columns vs 2 columns vs 1) and I always analysed how (and why) others were doing it, and set out to do things differently.

I hand-coded my whole site. I created all my graphics and images myself. I took photos, sent them to be developed (yes, it was all on film back then!), scanned them in (so slow!), and photo edited them.

I also really enjoyed writing in a “personal voice” – seeing how voice and identity could be crafted with words and pictures, and how it affected the overall feel of the site. My focus was always to tell a great story, or share a feeling, or a moment, in a way that left readers feeling refreshed.

The effect of all of this is that my blog has unique content, and that content is presented in a distinctive way, making for an experience that cannot be found anywhere else.

wp_screen

This is what I see in the WordPress software I use to manage my blog: 1,313 post…and that’s just since 2003!

How Blogging has Changed in Ten Years
The Internet is HUGE now. Back in 1999, it was small, but growing rapidly. And there was no spam or advertising on it. The Internet was like a cool café then, with a nice atmosphere, where you might bump into friends. Now, the Internet and blogs are part of the “social-media” phenomenon where everyone is connected to everyone else and everything by so many different software and devices that it feels like everyone in the whole world is shouting out at the same time. And advertising is EVERYWHERE!

The Internet is FAST now. Back in 1999, most of my posts didn’t have a picture at all, and if they did, the picture was the size of what is now called a “thumbnail” image. Remember, this was in the days of “dial-up” modems that made that awful “screeeeech-boing-boing-boing” noise. Your service provider cut the connection if you weren’t actively surfing, so you had to re-connect if you stopped to read something long and interesting. Sometimes, your service provider would cut you off in the middle of a big file upload, to remind you that bandwidth was PRECIOUS. So people were very careful about what they uploaded, and what they clicked on.

Digital cameras, combined with faster bandwidth, have made high quality photos an important part of the internet, and my blog too, because digital is so easy and cheap compared to film. As a result, I have had to improve the standard of my photography a lot over the years, a challenge I really enjoy. But I still choose images very, very carefully. One good image is worth a thousand words, but fifty well chosen words is much better than any bad picture.

I’ve used the very popular “Wordpress” software to manage my blog since 2007. Before that, I hand-coded every post in HTML.

I do all my photo editing with Photoshop. I customize my blog interface by coding my own CSS templates. I store all my images on Flickr, so I don’t have to pay for serving out all the images. And I am still using the same computer I bought in 2002 (with the money I was supposed to use to buy my engagement ring).

Upside of Being a 10 Year old Blogger
One of the best things about having been online for so long, is feeling like I’m talking to a huge bunch of girlfriends, and I love it. I know that I have quite a few male readers, but they never email me. Come on guys, don’t be shy!

Almost everyday I get email from people who thank me for the words and pictures I share, and say they are inspired by my attitude and outlook on life. This is really, really rewarding. It keeps me going. I take all these things to heart, and I find them both fulfilling, and humbling.

Because of my large readership, I can draw attention to issues I believe are important.

I also get asked to support or endorse various entities or products. People offer to fly me to places to do stuff that would undoubtedly be a very cool experience. But I have an even more important job – I am mother to three little children…so I almost never go. Maybe one day!

Downside of being a 10 year blogger
The biggest downside of having such a large readership is being unable to reply to all the email that comes in. Everyday my inbox is filled up, and everyday, I’m really saddened that I can’t speak to each person individually.

After 10 years of having my email address on the internet, it is now on a huge number of spamming lists. Everyday, I delete literally dozens of emails offering me the opportunity to have my sex organs enlarged, to buy insanely cheap drugs or watches, to get rich by helping Nigerian royalty move their money to a safe place, and to marry lonely Russian super-babes with exotic names. It is so bad I am considering changing my e-mail address. But I like being “karen” at “karencheng.com.au”, so I stick with it, even though the word “delete” is getting worn off the “delete” key on my keyboard.

In the last couple of years, marketing people have decided that the best way to get something for nothing is to offer free stuff to bloggers. Thus, I get endless offers to try out mind-control medication on my children, weirdly flavoured mineral water, cosmetics that will take 15 years off my age, etc, etc. At first, I thought all these friendly emails from marketing people meant that they really loved me, and they promised to only send me stuff that was relevant to me, but now they send me anything they are trying to promote. Argh!

The strangest thing to happen to me because of blogging is being a (very minor) celebrity. I still haven’t gotten used to being spotted in the streets or at the shops. But I am slowly getting better at talking to complete strangers, who walk up to me and say: “Oh my God! You’re Karen Cheng!!” Since I am actually quite shy with people I don’t know, these moments are often awkward for me, especially when I am holding a baby with a pooey nappy, a tin of mixed beans and a cauliflower, and I am dressed in an old tracksuit.

The Next Ten Years?
In late 1999, I was living the high-life in the peak of the dot-com boom. Then, in rapid succession, I fell in love, travelled a lot, got made redundant in the dot-com crash, got married, and then had my first son.

My life was a dream till my husband had cancer. It was a year of doubt, fear, surgery, chemotherapy, more surgery, and praying. We were very, very lucky that he was successfully treated. While all that was happening, I had my second son. I was 26 by then. Life seemed so much more precious, and my blog has become even more of a celebration of the everyday moments of life.

So, after ten years, and thousands of readers everyday, what am I going to do?

I have invested 10 years of my life into blogging. I don’t know if most of my readers will ever realise how much of my day-to-day life it takes up. It takes a real discipline to post five times a week, each one with original content, and this continues to be a challenge for me, and doubly so with three kids.

Things have come to a point where I was investing so much into my site, that I had to decide on it’s future, and my future. I had to decide to give it up to pursue a more regular career, or try to make an income from blogging.

So I am now what bloggers call a “Pro-Blogger”, which means that I am trying to make an income from my blog. My mission is to show my readers things that they might actually be interested in, without bothering them with advertising spam. I want to keep my blog as a really nice place to come to. I’m still working out how to do this, and I regard it as a long-term project. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Something that will always stay the same for me is that I will keep blogging about the things that I love and that inspire me. Beautiful things, and important things. I have became very interested in increasing cancer awareness and research (a very important topic), and fashion (also a very important topic, but in a different way).

So I’m looking forward to the adventure of the next ten years!


Perth Bloggers Meet Up – January 2009

23 January 2009

Perth Bloggers Meet Up - Jan 2009

The other night we attended a Perth Bloggers Meet Up. It was really nice to see heaps of news and old faces.

I had an excellent time meeting different people from all walks of life! There was a really nice vibe in the air and I had some great conversations. It was a good night!

Perth Bloggers Meet Up - Jan 2009

I also met David and Ming, from Nuffnang, who kindly sponsored the event.

If you’re interested in attending future meetups in Perth, feel free to join the Perth Bloggers Meetup Facebook Group!


Nuffnang Bloggers Meetup – Perth

14 January 2009

For those of you who are bloggers in Perth…

On Wednesday night, 21 January 2009, NuffNang Australia are putting on drinks and nibbles at The Brass Monkey Wine Bar.

Nuffnang is Asia Pacific’s first (and possibly largest) blog advertising network and community. They have 80,000 bloggers under their wing from Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines – they have recently launched here in Australia. Nuffnang Australia are keen to let Aussie bloggers know about them and spread the word.

Me, Davienne and Ming (from Nuffnang)

Nuffnang also prides itself for nurturing a strong, local blogging community – spoiling their members with competitions, prizes, giveaways, movie tickets, and seasonal events. I especially like that they are charity minded too – donating advertising space to charities for free.

During my trip to Singapore in July, I met two of the Nuffnang crew, Ming (pictured right), co-founder of Nuffnang, and the lovely Davienne (pictured middle). Ming is coming to Perth just to attend this meetup, as is David, the Sydney based Nuffnang Australia Manager.

The agenda for the meetup is just a quick welcome and introduction by Nuffnang, and then everyone can indulge in some free drinks, food and friendly chat.

So if you’ve never been to a bloggers meetup, or have always thought about attending one… you should definitely not miss this one! Please pass the word around the blogging community.

I hope to see some of you there!

Event: Perth Bloggers Meetup sponsored by Nuffnang

Date: Wednesday, 21st January 2009

Time: 6pm

Venue: The Wine Room (The Brass Monkey) at the rear of the Grapeskin Wine Bar, Corner of James and William Street Northbridge.

Theme: Nuffnang New Years Welcome

Food platters and a drinks tab provided.

No RSVP necessary.


Meet Lifestyle Blogger: Joyce Wong

12 August 2008

Joyce Wong from Kinky Blue Fairy

Years ago I stumbled across a blog who linked to me, Kinky Blue Fairy. I found Joyce Wong, a hot, pixie-faced chick, with attitude, who seemed to party non-stop!

Over the years of popping in and out of her site, I’ve found myself quite entertained and deeply fascinated – for me it’s seeing how the other side lives. Ah, so that’s what real party girls get up to! What a jam packed life! She has so much energy! And I love her outfits!

Tongue in Chic Fashion BlogJoyce’s pet project is Tongue in Chic, a very cool fashion blog based in Malaysia (such a great name!). It’s definitely a regular stop for me when keeping in touch with fashion in the Asia region.

I just love the range of stuff that she and her team covers. Everything from fashion shows, fashion events, bargain hunting, latest trends, sales, designers, fashion ideas, fashion scouting in Hong Kong, Bangkok, China and more.

Tongue in Chic are launching the new version of their site on the 20th August 2008, complete with a rocking launch party! Wish I was there!

I also asked Joyce if she was interested in “Doing The Karen Cheng”, she laughed and said SURE!

So you can see her pics on her Kinky Blue Fairy site, and on the Doing The Karen Cheng Facebook Group. Enjoy!


Talking About Blogging

16 May 2008

This morning a Channel 10 film crew and reporter arrived at my house.

They were covering a story on blogging, and they were here to interview me and feature my blog.

A film crew! In my house! For an interview! Eeeeek! How exciting! You should have seen my lounge room, it was spotless. I had fresh flowers and throw rugs. There was not a crumb to be seen.

I can’t remember the last time I felt so FLUTTERY AND FLOATY IN MY STOMACH.

The crew was absolutely lovely. It was actually quite fun. I think I did ok.

I know this sounds a bit silly, but I really felt so honoured to be talking about blogging, being a blogger, mummy blogs, and why I love blogging. I’m so excited to see what this feature does for bloggers in Australia.


Blogger Meetup and Updates

12 March 2008

Perth Bloggers Meetup March 2008

I had a really nice time at the Perth Bloggers Meetup! I met, talked and hung out with some lovely people, chatted to old net friends, took photos, drank a bit, and received gifts (thanks girls!). More photos here.

I also managed to get some online bits and pieces up and running again. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep them updated now!

> My Wishlist (Amazon)
A few very sweet people were asking for my wishlist. So I’ve finally updated it and made a separate list for the kids!

> My Twitter
Interested to know what a SAHM does all day? Ha ha maybe not? Well you can now follow me on Twitter. And you have to check out the tiling grass.gif I made 9 years ago. It’s SO 1999!

Me elsewhere:

> Facebook

> My Flickr

> Stumble Upon

> Technorati


Perth Bloggers Meetup – March

5 March 2008

I made a promise to the lovely Simone of EnjoyPerth!, that I’ll be joining her and a bunch of other people (that I know by name and profile avatar) for the Perth Bloggers Meetup.

It’ll be my first time at a blogger meetup!

I mentioned that I’d write about it on my site, but I forgot to mention that I don’t actually KNOW how many people in Perth read my site.

I know three. My husband, my mother and my Aunty Flo. And I’m not sure if they can make it. They’d bring chicken curry for everyone, I’m sure of it.

So please come! Would love to see you there!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008.

7pm

Upstairs at The Brass Monkey
Corner of James and William Street, Northbridge

Perth Bloggers I want to meet : Cellobella, TFP, Kitta, Mooiness, Rodney, Krissy, Bronwen, Duncan, Priscilla, Nat. (Ok I’ve met some of you before, but it’d be good to catch up!)


Blog Loving – MetroDad

29 January 2008

As part of my regular posts on Blogging, Photography and Design, I’m also reviewing some blogs that I love reading, and greatly admire.

MetroDad PicIn the blogging universe of Mummy Bloggers, Metrodad is my shining star. He’s my all time favourite Daddy Blogger.

Metrodad is written by Pierre Kim, Asian-American, ethnically Korean with a French name, fashion executive living in New York, with his wife and 3 year old daughter.

My goodness, he’s so funny. I love his snappy ramblings about his daughter and fatherhood. His writing is refreshing, wickedly funny, yet oozes with warmth and love. It’s all good.

My favourite posts (just so happens all of them are parenting posts):

The Lazy List of Fives

The Eight Types of Playground Parents

An Open Letter to All Toddlers

Tales of Future Past

5-1, I guess she really is my daughter

I managed to ask Pierre some friendly questions.

Interview

Karen: When you’re having a really bad day, what are some of the things that will definitely cheer you up?

Pierre: Hugs from my daughter, kisses from my wife, a plate of homemade gnocchi from my favorite local Italian restaurant, and a nice old-school bottle of Montepulciano table wine.

Karen: What kind of father was your father? How much are you like him now?

Pierre: My father was a traditionally strict immigrant father who was raised in an absolutely horrible home environment. He was mentally and physically abused by his parents until he ran away as a teenager. Like many other Korean men of his generation, he was very shut off from his emotions. Hence, his idea of playing a role in my life generally consisted of being a provider and a disciplinarian. We did not have a very close relationship when I was growing up. Now, as we’ve both gotten older and mellower, we’ve learned to coexist peacefully for the sake of the family.

Suffice it to say, we are not very much alike. However, because of his hard work and sacrifices, I was afforded luxuries in life that have allowed me to become the person that I am today. For that, I am forever grateful.

Karen: What inspires you?

Pierre: Travel. Seeing as much of the world around me while I’m still here on this planet. I’ve been to 56 countries during my lifetime and I hope to visit many more. For me personally, there’s nothing more inspiring than exploring a strange city by yourself and meeting people who are never quite as different from yourself as you might presume.

Karen: What’s your favourite way to spend time with your daughter?

Pierre: Without a doubt, going out to eat with her. Food is a great passion of mine and I’m constantly tasting the amazing diversity of incredible food that can be found in a city like New York. Sharing this passion with my daughter is incredible. When my wife works late, my daughter and I will go out to dinner together and these have always been some of my favorite father-daughter memories. Not only does she love having Daddy all to herself but she’s also loves going to new restaurants. Blessedly, she’s an adventurous eater. She’s the only 3-year-old I know who has eaten everything from foie gras to raw sea urchin to clams casino.

Karen: What are 5 things you are working on right now?

Pierre: Becoming a better husband, father, and son.
Getting more involved in volunteer work.
Learning how to cook.
A television show.
Quitting smoking.

Karen: I can’t believe you buy clothes for your wife! And she likes it! What is the one thing that you bought for her, that backfired on you?

Pierre: My overall track record of buying clothes for my wife is pretty good. However, I apparently lack the gene that gives one the ability to choose handbags. For her past birthday, I spent over a month researching Vogue magazines and scouring all the handbag sites. I was absolutely 100% convinced that she would love the bag I selected for her. Totally backfired. She hated it. Thank god for generous return policies.

Now, I’m in full training mode. My wife will show me a handbag and ask me whether she’d like it or not and I have to answer right away. It’s futile. I’m a lost cause. What is it with you women and your handbags?


Nominations for The Bloggies 2008

2 January 2008

Nomination for The 8th Annual Blog Awards are on!

Every year I wonder how I should approach the “blog awards season”. Sure, they are always such a great way to discover new blogs, support my favourite blogs, and visit blogs that have dropped off my list during the year. But in terms of being nominated and voted for, I’ve learnt that it pays to beg shamefully and promise lots of love and eternal sunshine.

This is just nomination stage, so it’s really exciting to be one of the finalists. So please please nominate me! Thank you thank you thank you!

Go to the awards site and fill in the URLs!

You don’t have to register, but you do need to give your email (at the end) to validate the nomination.

You also have to make sure that at least three different blogs in total must be nominated throughout your whole nomination form.

And you have to nominate by Friday, January 11 2008. Quick quick!

So www.karencheng.com.au can fit into these categories :

Best Australian or New Zealand Weblog
Best Asian Weblog
Best Writing of a Weblog
Best-Designed Weblog
Weblog of the Year

These are my nominates (I’ve left out some categories, because I don’t know of any blogs in that category or I just can’t decide right now! Will update later!) :

Best Web Application for Weblogs
Wordpress – www.wordpress.org

Best Australian or New Zealand Weblog
Karen Cheng – www.karencheng.com.au

Best Asian Weblog
Karen Cheng – www.karencheng.com.au

Best African Weblog
Tertia – www.tertia.org

Best Photography of a Weblog
The Pioneer Woman – www.thepioneerwoman.com

Best Food Weblog
The Food Pornographer – www.thefoodpornographer.com

Best Topical Weblog
Tree Hugger – www.treehugger.com

Best Entertainment Weblog
The Superficial – www.thesuperficial.com

Best Writing of a Weblog
Karen Cheng – www.karencheng.com.au

Best Community Weblog
Postsecret – postsecret.blogspot.com

Best-Designed Weblog
Karen Cheng – www.karencheng.com.au

Weblog of the Year
Karen Cheng – www.karencheng.com.au


Blog Loving – Chookoolonks

17 December 2007

Chookooloonks

As part of my usual Monday posts on Blogging, Photography and Design, I’m also reviewing some blogs that I love reading, and greatly admire.

I was first introduced to Karen Walrond several years ago, when she was a writer for Bloggingbaby.com. I clicked over to her personal site, Chookooloonks, and I fell in love with her daily pictures, words, and most of all her love for her daughter.

Not only is she stunning and a beautiful person, her daily writing is refreshing and she captures such a lyrical richness of her life through her photography.

Her site Chookooloonks (a Trinidadian term of endearment) is now a photography blog, but she used to write at her old site about parenting, motherhood, adoption, being a writer and being a pro blogger.

I managed to grab some of her time and ask her a few questions :

Interview

Me: Tell us a bit about yourself.

KW: In a nutshell, I’m a Trinidadian, wife to a Brit, mother to an American, lawyer, photographer, 40-year-old analytical extrovert with the soul of an struggling artist. More or less. I also make a mean rum punch.

Me: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

KW: There were several professions I was pretty intent on becoming when I was a kid. My mother tells me that when I was five, my earliest aspirations were to marry the garbage man (I’m told he was very nice to me). I then wanted to be a geologist, an archeologist, a paleontologist (I call that my “gist” period). Then I wanted to be a linguist. Then an architect. My father convinced me that my talent was in mathematics (it really wasn’t), and so I instead became an engineer. Then a lawyer.

I may do something else, yet. For the record, I never did marry the garbage man.

Me: When you’re having a really bad day, what are some things that will most certainly cheer you up?

KW: My three-year-old daughter, Alex, has an amazing sense of humour for her age, and is sensitive enough to know just what to say to get me to laugh. I have a kind husband who calms me down in a heartbeat. And of course, there’s always my camera, if I need to just get away and focus (hah!) on something else.

Me: You’re from Trinidad and Tobago. I’ve never been there before, can you describe it in a sentence?

KW: The Republic of Trinidad & Tobago is a country of great beauty, friendship, warmth, tropical Caribbean beaches, fabulous food, and incredible music. And I miss it terribly.

Me: A good and bad thing about living in Texas?

KW: A good thing: Texas, and in particular, Houston, is a very easy place to live. It’s really inexpensive, the people are quite friendly, the availability of culture — ballet, symphony, theatre, sports of all kinds — is impressive, and Houston’s variety of truly first class restaurants is its best kept secret.

A bad thing: Texas is a relatively conservative state, and for a multiracial, liberal family like ours, living here can sometimes be challenging.

Me: How did your love for photography begin?

KW: Well, many years (and many pounds!) ago, I used to model. I loved the magic that the photographers could make with their cameras, and I befriended one particular fashion photographer who gave me advice on buying my first camera, and helped me get started. I love shooting pretty much everything, but my first love, largely because of this photographer, is portraiture.

Me: What’s your favourite way to spend time with your daughter?

KW: Alex is actually a pretty great model, so we have a great time playing around with my camera. Lately, we’ve also taken to having chats at coffeehouses (I have cappuccino, she has very weak, milky, sweet tea), and we “discuss what’s going on in our lives.” I tell people that “language” is her superpower, because she’s always had a real facility with communication — so hanging out and talking with her is my absolute favourite thing to do.

Vote for Chookooloonks

Karen’s site has also been nominated for “Best Photography Blog” at the Blogger’s Choice Awards. Go vote for her!


Blog Loving – So Close

10 December 2007

So Close, by Tertia Albertyn

As part of my usual Monday posts on Blogging, Photography and Design, I’m also reviewing some blogs that I love reading, and greatly admire.

Tertia Albertyn writes at So Close – a website that charts her life after infertility, with twins!

She battled through 4 years of infertility and went through nine IVFs. In Jan 2004, her son Ben was born prematurely at 26 weeks, and passed away 10 days later. In Jan 2005, she gave birth to twins, Adam and Kate, who are now almost 3 years old.

She writes about her daily adventures as mother, wife, author, blogger – her writing makes me choke with laughter, her everyday activities make me chuckle with recognition, and her infertility story breaks my heart and makes every molecule in me weep bitterly.

It’s a shattering and devastating journey, yet hilarious, wonderful, mischievous, and full of everyday joy.

As I pour through her site, my god, the way she tackles the issues and realities of her life, the way she bares her soul to the world… makes me pale with respect and awe. I truly am inspired.

Tertia has written a book about her journey, entitled So Close : Infertile and addicted to hope. It’s coming out on Amazon in April 2008. But I’ve found her book on Fishpond and Amazon UK, where you can place a pre-order.

I managed to grab some of her time and ask her a few questions :

Interview

Karen: On your blog, you write about your “life after infertility”. Sharing such an incredible, powerful, moving story with the world must have some blessings/rewards! What is the best thing that has ever happened because of your blog?

Tertia: Wow, so many good things. I guess the obvious best thing was getting a book deal out of it. A South African publisher read my blog and decided they liked the way I wrote and felt that I had a compelling story to tell, and offered me a book deal. I use the phrase ‘book deal’ in its figurative sense because in South Africa you do not write a book for money, you write it for love. There is NO money in writing a book in this country. But that’s ok, I wanted to share my story.

The real ‘best thing’ about my blog is the amazing connections I have made with people from all over the world. I thrive on it; it inspires me, motivates me, grounds me, connects me, teaches me, humbles me. Having a blog is like a 24 hour on call best friend, nurse, doctor, shrink, shoulder to cry on and friend to rant to. I have ‘met’ the most amazing people. After my babies were born, I got gifts from all over the world, the USA, Europe, Japan, Israel, New Zealand… it was amazing.

Karen: When you’re having a crap day, what are the things most likely to crack a smile on your face?

Tertia: The crazy things my kids say. They come up with the funniest things. Three is a damn cute age. They are naughty little shits, but they are damn cute too. I think I will keep them.

Karen: I know almost nothing about South Africa, except that you’ve got hot rugby players. Please summarise South Africa in one sentence!

Tertia: We also have hot bloggers.
South Africa is a country is country of intense contrasts, so much opportunity alongside so much poverty, so much optimism alongside so much fear (crime), so new yet so old, so first world, yet so ‘third world’, so sophisticated yet so rural. Black and white. Old and young. Rich valleys, lush forests, dry plains. Such contrasts. A painful past, a hopeful future.

Oh, you wanted just a sentence. So difficult. I am so passionate about my country. South Africa is a land of hope and opportunity.

Karen: What is the best and worst thing about being living in South Africa?

Tertia: The best thing – being in Africa. The rich earth, the space, the weather. This is a beautiful country.

The worst thing – without doubt, the crime. We have a terrible problem with crime here. Just about the worst in the world.

Karen: Do you speak any other languages than English?

Tertia: When I grew up in the apartheid years, we were forced to do Afrikaans at school. So I speak English and Afrikaans (which is very similar to Dutch / Flemish)

Karen: I haven’t read your book “So Close : Infertile and addicted to hope” yet, but I loved reading your thoughts on it. What made you decide to write a book and share your story?

Tertia: As I mentioned above, a publisher approached me with an offer. Everyone had been telling me for years to write a book, but I could only write it when I had my ‘happily ever after’. I started writing the book when my twins were a few months old. It was only once I had my final chapter that I could start the book.

The really exciting news is that the book should be released in the UK next April. Which means it will EVENTUALLY be on Amazon.

Vote for So Close

Tertia’s site has also been nominated for “Best Parenting Blog” and “Hottest Mommy Blogger” at the Blogger’s Choice Awards. Vote for her! She needs some love!

(I’m also nominated for Best Parenting Blog, Best Design Blog, Best Blog of All Time, and Hottest Mommy Blogger – but you can vote for more than one person in each category!)


Blog Loving – The Food Pornographer

26 November 2007

The Food Pornographer

As part of my usual Monday posts on Blogging, Photography and Design, I’m also reviewing some blogs that I love reading, and greatly admire.

Although I don’t blog exclusively about food, I am most certainly a foodie at heart. I LOVE MY FOOD, and I just LOVE food blogs. So, I’d like you to meet The Food Pornographer.

If you’re looking for super-stylised, magazine-perfect, unblemished photography – you won’t find it here. This site is about REAL FOOD. Real food sitting on a plate, steaming and glistening, dripping with oil and sauces. Real food that you can actually buy, or cook.

As I scroll through her photographs, every olfactory gland in my body erupts with a craving desire. My eyes swell as large as my stomach. I can SMELL that plate of hot fried noodles. I can TASTE that steak burger.

Things I love about this blog

I love the name of the blog. It’s hilarious. And as you look through her photos, there’s that extra dimension that adds originality, humour and a tongue-in-cheek wit that you don’t find in most food blogs.

I love her spontaneous photography – all pictures are taken with a completely ordinary camera. No special lenses or fancy lights.

I love her quirky everyday stories – with everything pretty much centred on FOOD!

I love her honesty. She tells it like it is. If the meal was awful, she’ll say so and explain why. Likewise, if it’s great, she’ll rave about it, and your mouth will water.

So here are a few questions that I’ve been dying to ask her!

Interview

Karen: You obviously take a lot of pictures of your food while you are eating out. Does anyone ever ask you what you are doing? Do they think you are a government health inspector? Or a spy from another restaurant? What do you usually tell them?

TFP: Funnily enough, no one’s ever asked me! I do get strange looks from customers at adjacent tables. Occasionally I get laughed at by people who notice what I’m doing. But as long as they’re not getting in the way of my shots, I can put up with it.

I do my thing, then put the camera away and eat my food. I try not to take photos when I know staff are watching though, just in case they get paranoid for whatever reason and tell me to stop.

As long as no one prevents me from taking photos, I don’t really care what they think. If anyone were to ask me what I was doing though, I would tell them I have a food blog (as I do when people at parties ask).

Karen: What is the most disgusting thing you have ever eaten?

TFP: I bought a Filet O Fish from a McDonalds recently – the fish was all shrivelled up and BROWN – it smelled absolutely revolting.

Karen: The beautiful way you write about your food reveals you are a woman of deep passions. Do you make noises – when you eat?

TFP: I think I eat very quietly. But I do tend to eat too quickly and burn my tongue on hot food.

Karen: Do you get to eat for free because you do reviews?

TFP: I was given a freebie meal once by a restaurant, but then I felt like I couldn’t write freely about what I thought of the meal. I didn’t like that feeling of being ethically compromised – feeling obliged to only write good things.

I’d love to be paid to write my reviews, but so far that hasn’t happened. I just write for my own pleasure and the pleasure of my readers – for free!

Karen: At your funeral, what meal will be served to the guests?

TFP: Hmmm. Hard to decide if it would be Western or Asian food. It would be cool to have guests eat some of my favourite dishes from childhood – lotus root soup, pongteh, minchee, Malaysian-style chicken curry and rice pork chok with all the trimmings.

But then a barbecue would be great too. A very meaty barbie, with sausages, lamp chops, pork chops, marinated chicken thighs, barbecued onions and garlic field mushrooms. Mmmmm.

Vote for The Food Pornographer!

The Food Pornographer has been nominated for “Best Food Blog” and “Best Photography Blog” in the 2008 round of the Bloggers Choice Awards (where I’ve also been nominated in four categories).

If you’d like to vote for The Food Pornographer, or me, or just surf some amazing blogs in a wide range of categories, then:

1) Go to http://www.bloggerschoiceawards.com
NOTE: If you have already voted for me you won’t need to create a new user account – just skip to step 3.

2) Create an account – you do have to fill in everything, except the “choose a picture”, and you do have to give a real e-mail address. A message will appear telling you to check your e-mail for a confirmation message. Mine arrived in less than thirty seconds, and you click on the link in the message.

3) On the right hand side of the screen is a “search” box. Type in the word “FoodPornographer” or “KarenCheng” (all one word).

4) Click on the drop down menu called “Choose a Category to View this Blog” and you will see a list of all the different categories we’ve have been nominated for. Choose any one of the four nominations.

5) It will load up a little profile of the website, and there will be a yellow “vote” button. Hit the vote button! It will turn to a set of question marks, and then you can just quickly click on the other categories as well.

Next week – more blog loving!


Out and about the blogosphere

19 April 2007

Since everyone’s talking about it…

I’ve been quite fascinated by the recent Top 100 Australian Blogs Index. An index calculated by a site’s Alexa Australia rank, Alexa Global rank and Technorati rank. Turns out I’m ranked at 14! How cool!!

What’s more interesting is uncovering some awesome Australian blogs!

Next is the Blogger’s Choice Awards. Very different to other awards – in that the votes are calculated in real time, all nominations are listed, and you can see who’s voting for who. Great for browsing new blogs too.

I’ve been nominated for Best Blog Design, Best Blog of All Time, Best Parenting Blog, and err.. Hottest Mommy Blogger. I’m doing rather badly at the moment, oh well. Maybe I should ease off the birthday cakes and start posting some naughty pics? Bwahaha.

Lots of people are emailing me, asking me about all kinds of stuff. I’m terribly sorry if I don’t reply. The guilt is really getting me down.

If it helps you, I’ve put up a Google Search (to search my site). It’s on my side bar, you might have to scroll down to see it.


4th in Australia’s Best Blog!!

6 December 2005

Big congratulations to Jodi Rose of Singing Bridges for winning the title of Australia’s Best Blog and $10,000 in cash!

Her blog is a travel diary, creating a “sonic sculpture, playing the cables of stay-cabled and suspension bridges as musical instruments” and her blog was announced as “an excellent example of the unlimited nature of blogs”. How cool!

The winner and finalists :

1. http://www.singingbridges.net/diary
2. http://www.loobylu.com
3. http://www.ausculture.com/blog
4. http://www.karencheng.com.au/
5. http://www.problogger.net
6. http://www.trollhattansaab.net
7. http://www.thepodcastnetwork.com/tpn
8. http://www.hearye.org
9. http://www.browncardigan.com
10. http://antonyloewenstein.blogspot.com/
11. http://www.camwheeler.com/wine/

There’s an article at the Sydney Morning Herald and commentary about the awards and judging process at Razor (The Age).


Blogday in Perth

1 September 2005

Last night I dragged myself into Northbridge to join the Perth event for Blogday. I was feeling pretty crook and didn’t stay too long.
But it was fun. I met a few familiar faces. Chatted briefly. Had a few laughs. Had a drink. And even picked up an award + silver platter trophy! It was all very casual and tongue in cheek. Very funny.

So I thought I’d give my “5 recommended blogs” a Perth flavour.

Robert – Delicious insight into Australian politics. Brilliantly laced with his dark humour and wit. He also picked up the Lifetime Achievement award and silver teapot trophy (of which I was rather envious).

Man That Cooks – Local food blogger. Very entertaining writing. Very yummy photos. And he makes me laugh and laugh.

Decaffeinated – Another very entertaining, very funny, well written site that’s full of great stories about macs, geek stuff and life.

Simon – A stunning photoblog capturing the breathtaking colours, shapes and forms of Perth.

Natalija – Lovely friend of mine. Beautiful writing, observations and reflections about life, people, art and design. Inspiring.


Bag Blogs

24 February 2005

Oooh I love it! Pursueing.com – A blog site completely and utterly about purses, handbags, totes, clutches! Complete with pics, links and a little write up. Updated regularly too.

The Bag Blog is also pretty cool.


Meli Melo for Timeless Style

22 February 2017

Brought to you by Meli Melo

Summer Woven Bag by Meli Melo

Hi everyone!

Since the start of the year, I’ve had the pleasure of having several “omg somebody pinch me” moments in my life and work.

(Having said that, I think watching a nice sunset is a pinch-me moment haha!)

Anyway, one of those pinch-me moments comes from my latest collaboration with Meli Melo.

Meli Melo is a London bag brand, created and founded by Melissa Del Bono in 2005, who sought to create beautiful, timeless and practical handbags (without showy logos) for everyday women.

The brand has a strong focus on timeless Italian craftsmanship mixed with a London understated cool.

I first heard of the brand a couple of years ago, when Olivia Palermo was snapped carrying one. The bag caught my eye because it looked surprisingly “everyday” for Olivia. But it seemed to hit the magic trifecta – it looked really practical, stylish and effortless – like the perfect everyday bag! I didn’t recognise the brand, so I went to check out who designed it.

Meli Melo Thela Bags

Turns out it was the classic Thela Tote Bag – so nice right?

The style is considered to be one of Meli Melo’s Signature Bags and it’s easy to see why with its simple and timeless design.

Summer Woven Bag by Meli Melo

For my review I decided not to choose the Thela, because I was looking for a tote bag and something a bit more different (but not too different!)… so I chose this Rosalia Woven Bag – another of their signature bag styles.

I wanted a tote style bag with no top flaps, with a nice big opening and a discrete zip.

The Rosalia Woven Bag features an embossed woven leather, evoking the rustic wicker baskets of Sicily, where the designer Melissa grew up.

I love this unique texture! It’s so eye catching, because it looks like a woven basket and captures a sense of whimsy, wanderlust, uniqueness and like it holds a story from my childhood. It looks like it has lots of personality!

Usually woven basket textures give a sense of casual/resort styling, but because of its sleek shape and the long shoulder straps, it fits really well with city and urban styling.

Summer Woven Bag by Meli Melo

It isn’t a delicate, thin and slouchy kind of leather bag, that collapses into a puddle of buttery, soft folds.

The leather of the body is beautiful, luxuriously smooth and very thick, making it strong and structured, so it keeps its lovely shape when you place it down.

I loved putting it on a cafe chair next to me – because it stood straight and strong and opened up easily so I could quickly see and grab my things inside.

It seemed pretty resistant to scratches, scuffs and bumps, so it was nice to NOT have to worry about that when using it.

The thickness of the leather handles and straps are slightly thinner for comfort and usability, but still thick and strong.

Perhaps the downside of the bag is its weight, which is 1.1kgs. So it’s a solid weight, but not too heavy that it hurts my arm or shoulders.

It really feels like a luxury quality, leather handbag. It will last me years and years and it feels like the kind of bag that will get better with age.

meli melo Rosalia

The Rosalia Bag comes in nine different colours – lots of lovely pastels and subtle shades. I’ve shown my favourite 4 colours above: Light Tan, Taupe, Heron (light blue), Midnight Blue. It also come in Elephant Grey, Sand, Khaki, Lime and of course Black.

It also comes in a smaller “Mini” size which can be worn in a cross-body style. That’s super cute too!

If you buy from the Meli Melo website, they offer free worldwide shipping.

Or you can also buy Meli Melo from Shopbop (and you might be able to nab it on sale).

I absolutely loved using this tote as an every day bag for doing all my errands. Look forward to lots more photos of me and my bag haha!

Happy shopping!!

xxx


An Alternative to Laser: Collagen Induction Therapy at Iconic Medispa, Perth

17 February 2017

Collagen Induction Therapy from Iconic Medispa

(This is me 8 weeks after CIT treatment, with concealer, foundation, powder, highlighting, a little mascara and really nice portrait lighting. Not entirely natural, but my skin is glowing!)

Some of you might remember my blog post about My 30’s Skin Journey, where I whinged about my skin and I talked about seeing a dermatologist, my skin treatment, using (and loving) Vitamin A and how I decided NOT to do laser.

Instead I went for lots of facials (Detox facials! Rejuvenation facials! Relaxing facials!) which are nice, relaxing, and wonderfully luxurious. But in terms of making an actual difference to my skin, most of them were meh.

So now I have been trying more “active”, but non-invasive facial treatments.

My disclosure here is that I was contacted by a friend of a friend of a friend, who also happened to be a high school friend’s sister’s husband — basically I kind of know the team behind the Iconic Medispa in South Perth and they asked if I’d like to try one of their facial therapies.

I actually declined at first, because I didn’t know very much about the therapies they offered. On their website, they say they offer HydrafacialsCollagen Induction Therapy (which is like skin needling), a range of chemical peels, facials, infusion masks and even wrinkle relaxers and dermal fillers.

Since I declined to write a blog post, I offered to take photos for some of their marketing social media instead.

So one day I went into their clinic to take photos, I started chatting and asking questions about their business and their therapies. They were all very professional, knowledgeable and passionate about what they do, and I got a really nice vibe from them, their practice and their ethos… and the more informed I was, the more I wanted to try a facial treatment.

Basically, I got to know Dr Michael and a few of his therapists.

He’s is an award winning dentist! He’s super humble, he’s got two daughters, he’s into photography, does triathlons, he’s a cyclist, he’s down to earth, he’s into further education and training/computer aided designs/new technologies that deliver real results (I liked this!), he confessed that he never really advertised his business because he just wanted to focus on doing great work and relied on word of mouth which inadvertently made his business thrive. He’s an all-rounder nice guy and he’s a bit of a geek :)

(And he’s not at all like the big talking cosmetic specialists – who I have met in the past, who talk fast and rushed like I’m taking up their time, and who talk down to me like I’m inferior.)

Chatting to him, I realised that he had Collagen Induction Therapy done to himself, for his own acne scarring.

And at that point, I was sold and super-keen to have it done too!

In the next part of this post, yes I do have close up before and after photos, I explain what CIT is, what happened during the treatment… and how I absolutely loved the results.

I actually had the treatment done 8 weeks ago and I am sooooo happy with the results, so I decided to write this blog review after all.

They didn’t pay me to write any of this, however they did provide the treatment as an exchange for some photography, marketing and graphic design work I did for them, months ago… which I was actually keen to do in order to extend my commercial photographic portfolio. So hey you can decide for yourself if I’m being a sell out or a freebie seeking blogger ha!

 

 

So what is Collagen Induction Therapy?

You can read all about CIT from Dr Google…(and see other people’s before and after photos).

But in Karen-speak: Basically Collagen Induction Therapy uses a skin-needling or micro-needling technique (which has been around for hundreds of years). The latest technology in this field is called “Dermastamp” where medical-grade, fine needles are pricked into the surface of your skin to promote your own skin’s boost of collagen growth and to stimulate skin rejuvenation.

Because of this natural boost of collagen, your skin becomes firmer, smoother, tighter, improves in texture and reduces the sizes of pores, fine lines, wrinkles and scars. The boosting effect of collagen growth and skin improvement lasts for about 6-12 months.

Er, it all sounded too good to be true!?

I was happy to do it because: It’s said to be just as effective as laser, it’s good for getting rid of acne scars, it’s very low risk, almost no pain, almost no negative side effects, it’s “natural” because it boosts your own collagen growth, perfect for Asian skin and perfect for people with hyper-pigmentation (like me!).

You can read a bit more FAQ on the Iconic site here.

My Treatment Plan

Dr Michael checked out my skin, and for my acne scarring he recommended I have 2 rounds of skin cleansing facial treatments first (as my pores were really clogged and I needed to improve my skin health) then have a total of 5 CIT treatments, alternated with the facial cleansing treatments.

These skin cleansing treatments were called HydraFacials and they were fantastic!

Basically a HydraFacial is a facial, but heaps better. They do a light scrub to exfoliate your face, they give you a gentle peel, then they use a special pen that extracts and cleans your pores, while infusing your skin with antioxidants, peptides and hyaluronic acid.

It’s soooo much better and more effective than a regular facial.

It did wonders for my pores!

It’s a great way to prep your skin before a more active skin treatment like CIT.

(And after doing a bit of research about it, I found out that heaps of celebrities and personalities do it but they don’t publicly announce it ha!)

My CIT Experience

First of all, Iconic Medispa runs in conjunction with their Iconic Dentist clinic. So all their medical and hygiene standards and procedures have to comply with strict Australian dentistry standards.

This is not a typical beauty salon, not a home salon, not a small beauty business renting a shop space in the city with 10 year old equipment. This is a professional and successful clinic that has been running for 14 years, using advanced, medical grade equipment and the latest technology from the US/Europe.

As I sat in the chair while they made mirco-punctures in my face, I realised that CIT felt less like a “beauty therapy” and more of a “medical therapy”, thus I came to appreciate their high hygiene, procedural and equipment standards!

The treatment took about 60 minutes.

Collagen Induction Therapy from Iconic Medispa
(This is the Dermastamp Pen, used for collagen induction therapy. I took that photo! Do you like it? It was being used on someone else, not me.)

Was it painful?

Nope. They applied numbing anaesthetic cream. When the Dermastamp Pen was pressed into my skin, it felt like an electric toothbrush, with light bristles, brushing over my skin.

What happened immediately after?

I was told that everyone’s skin reacts differently. Some people look a bit red after the treatment, like they had a touch of sunburn. While others become very red and inflamed for a few days.

For me, I looked awful. I looked like I was stung by bees. My face was inflamed, puffy, angry, red, really blotchy and there were places where my skin was broken and I could see tiny bloody dots. I was a bit shocked.

Maybe I’m being a bit over the top, and maybe on the scale of possible reactions to the treatment, I wasn’t actually that bad. But for me, my skin had never looked THAT bad!

I had to pick up my son from school later, so I swept mineral makeup over my face, even though they told me not to. But there was no way I was going out in public looking like that.

I was pretty upset that night. I was thinking OMFG WHAT THE @#$% DID I DO? HOW DID I GET TALKED INTO THIS?!?!

The next day?

Woke up the next morning. My face wasn’t as inflamed as the first day, but it was still red, blotchy and beginning to get scabby. I wore more mineral make up and I was happy to leave the house.

Day Three.

Less red and less scabby.

Day Four.

No more scabs. Skin looks pretty good. I’m kind of glowing.

Day Five.

OK WOW. This is impressive. My skin looks tight, plump and radiant!

Day Six onwards.

Holy moly, I can actually see a difference!!

Collagen Induction Therapy from Iconic Medispa

Here are my results after 2 HydraFacials and 1 Collagen Induction Therapy.

I have 4 more CITs to go.

These photos were taken by the team at Iconic Medispa, as part of their overall service. The photos are looked over by several clinicians to keep track of my progress and my treatment is tweaked here and there as necessary.

I was very reluctant to take photos in the clinic (and wasn’t planning to share them on my blog!), but now that I’ve seen them and compared them, I’m a bit gobsmacked by how compelling they are.

Collagen Induction Therapy from Iconic Medispa

Conclusion

It’s not a miraculous change.

But it has made a huge difference to my fine lines, pores, texture, firmness, smoothness and the overall look of my skin – just after 1 treatment.

My makeup sits and looks better on my face too.

It’s 8 weeks after the treatment and my skin is still GLOWING. It has a lovely radiance and perkiness to it, which is a bit hard to capture in a photo. I love that it’s a “natural glow” from my own collagen.

My pigmentation is still there, my pores are still on the large size (but that’s my skin type), but as I said – it’s a huge difference.

It’s by far, the most effective treatment I’ve done to my skin.

It was so easy and low risk.

And I’m so happy that I tried this before trying any lasers.

Moving Onwards

I CAN’T WAIT to go in for my next treatment!!

OMG I’m seriously so excited to see the difference.

I was told that sometimes people enhance their CIT treatments with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) or Concentrated Growth Factor or Stem Cells (CGF), which give faster and better end results… but I’m a bit scared to try it.

And to give you an idea of pricing at Iconic Medispa, HydraFacials are about $175 (face only) and one treatment of CIT is $450.

(I had a little snoop around to compare prices, and these prices are on the slightly lower end of the spectrum when compared to other clinics in Perth. And to throw a bit of gossip in here, apparently these guys have a newer and more advanced CIT machine than other clinics.)

OK that’s all from me. I might post up a few more photos after my future treatments.

Thanks for reading. Sorry it was such a long post haha!

Hope you enjoyed it!

xxx


Back to Summer with Majorelle

15 February 2017

Majorelle Salsa Dress from Revolve

So I’ve been back in Australia for a week now and ooooh how I’ve missed the heat!

I’m definitely celebrating summer (again) and wearing every summery dress I can find.

I recently picked out this Salsa Dress by Majorelle (courtesy of Revolve) and it’s one of those fun, flirty dresses that ticks all the boxes.

Majorelle Salsa Dress from Revolve

Cute as hell. Beautiful print. Ruffles, off-shoulder, a bit of criss-cross wrap action. Adjustable straps.

Low at the front, but not too revealing. Short, but not too short. Perfect dress for a shortie like me.

Majorelle Salsa Dress from Revolve

The fabric is a silky, smooth polyester. It actually feels like silk, but it’s a lot more hardy, in that I could easily iron all the creases out on a low heat setting on my iron and it took me 3 minutes flat and no fuss at all.

The dress is lined, really well constructed and designed. It sits nicely on my hips, it doesn’t ride up my legs when I walk, it is super comfortable to move around in.

This is a Size XS and I’m usually a standard AUS 6.

Majorelle Salsa Dress from Revolve

This Salsa Dress also comes in a long sleeve version (a bit like a short, wrap dress) called the Tropicana Dress, with the same pattern.

And also a maxi dress, wrap style, in the same pattern called the Cubano Dress. They are all so pretty!

Also wearing my Rebecca Minkoff Quilted Handbag and Schutz Cadey Lee Heels.

I actually have a wedding to attend soon, so I might wear it then. Yippee!

xxx


Sweet Peas at the British Museum

11 February 2017

British Museum - Snowpeas

I bumped into this beautiful artwork at the British Museum.

The lines, shapes, composition and detail just blew me away, so I’m sharing it here on my blog, more for my own inspiration.

It is a woodblock print called Picture Album of Western Plants (1917) by Tanigami Konan.

The didactic panel says, “Modern Japanese designers and artists took special interest in Western plants, particularly during the 1910s, as the international Art Nouveau style became popular, with its flowing curves based on natural forms. This volume is from a set of richly printed books depicting flowers of the four seasons. The table of contents gives for each flower the English name and its Asian equivalent. The delicate blossoms here are sweet peas. Colour woodblock illustrated book.”

It’s the kind of print that I’d love to have on my wall so I can look at it every day.

And it’s also the kind of sketch I’d love to have done myself… and I know it’s possible for me, I just need a bit of practice! One day!


What I Wore: Tate Modern

10 February 2017

London

When the kids are all grown up, I’ve decided that my husband and I are going to do an Art Gallery Crawl across all the major cities of the world! #LIFEGOALS

I haven’t told him yet. However I might have to negotiate with him because he’d probably want to drag me to all the maritime and war museums too. And um, I don’t know if I’m up for that.

But what a life that will be right? Haha!

Yes the days have been cold and I’m actually enjoying all this rugging up in 4-5 layers thing.

I think I might actually miss it.

Here’s what I wore while traipsing through the Tate Modern.

I won’t be getting points for fashion creativity, but hey I was warm.

Uniqlo Heattech Singlet – I didn’t think it at first, but these are so handy for a bit of extra warmth without the bulk.

Grana White Linen Shirt – Not ironed and crumpled from being stuffed in my luggage, of course.

Uniqlo Cotton Cashmere Grey Sweater – These are no longer on sale, but here’s a similar Grana Crew Neck Cashmere Knit.

Topshop Double Breasted Coat – Oh man, this coat was so nice and affordable that I wished it came in a navy or dark grey. It comes in a Pink Blush and Light Grey, and I already have coats in those colours. They’re on 20% sale if you’re keen!

Frame Le Color Skinny Jeans – As I mentioned before, I pretty much lived in these jeans haha.

Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack – Great size for travelling and spending all day out and about.

Acne Pistol Boots – You know when you’ve bought well when you crack a quite smile whenever you put that item on. I’ll be smiling for years with these babies.


Tate Britain Gallery: Highlights

4 February 2017

Tate Britain

During my London trip, I had the pleasure of visiting all the major art galleries in the city.

I was like a kid in a candy shop :)

Of course I didn’t buy any art, but I did take THOUSANDS of photos!

I took photos of the entrances! Of the floors! Of the corridors! The art. The didactic panels. The frames. The doors. The spaces. The negative spaces. Haha I truly enjoyed every little detail.

I didn’t plan to share any of it on my blog, because seriously, even I think I over did it.

However, I do want to share these snaps from the Tate Britain Art Gallery, home of British art from the 1500s to present day.

Tate Britain

Close up of Portrait of Elizabeth I (1563) by Steven van der Meulen and Steven van Herwijck.

This is the earliest known full-length portrait of the queen. Here’s the link to the full portrait. It’s gorgeous!!

Although it looks yellow here, the background was “gold” paint and had a stunning, satin sheen to it… making the whole painting shimmer.

If I paid money to get my portrait done, I’d want something OVER THE TOP like this too haha.

Tate Britain

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1885–6) by John Singer Sargent

I don’t know much about John Singer Sargent, except that he was a famous portrait artist based in London/Europe and he used to hang out with Monet and the other Impressionist dudes.

I recognised this painting from a high school art book (over 20 years ago), and yep… it is more amazing, more staggeringly beautiful and more mind-blowingly impressive in real life.

I have no words.

Tate Britain

Study of Mme Gautreau (1884) by John Singer Sargent

This is the sketch (yes a sketch!) of Sargent’s infamous painting Madame X, which caused such a huge controversy in Paris at the time that it damaged Sargent’s reputation as a portrait artist, and as a result, he decided to move to London. The rest of the painting can be seen here.

Whatever the case, it is a stunning study, and I would kill to be able to “sketch” like that!

So inspiring!

Don’t know about you, but I want to crack open my charcoals after all this…


Paris Dairies: Tularosa and A.P.C

2 February 2017

Tularosa Tunic Dress

After a few weeks in London, my mum and I popped over to Paris (my first time there!) and spent 3 days exploring the beautiful city.

We stayed in a gorgeous boutique hotel called, Hôtel François 1er, just off the Avenue des Champs-Élysées (area with lots of cafés and luxury shopping), within walking distance to the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Grand Palais and a long walk would have taken us to the Musée du Louvre. It was also 3-4 minute walk to a Metro station.

(Hotel wasn’t sponsored, it was recommended by a friend and a little mishap saw us being upgraded to a massive executive suite wayhey! I completely recommend it!)

Tularosa Tunic Dress

I loved wearing this gorgeous Arabella Tunic Dress by Tularosa during my travels, kindly gifted from the team at Revolve.

I adored the embroidered details, the little fringe and ruffled sleeves, making it look very unique and understated.

It was a bit thin for London and Paris, so I did have to wear a Uniqlo Heattech Top underneath.

I chose the size XS, which was nice and loose on me, however, I don’t know if I would wear it as a dress on its own, because it’s a bit short. I think I would wear black shorts underneath it and – like the model on the website – I’d wear it with over the knee boots.

But who knows, I might change my tune by the time summer comes along.

Tularosa Tunic Dress

I used my A.P.C Half Moon Bag everyday while I was in Paris. I just needed something small that I could wear close to my body, that would fit my purse, phone and keys. I avoided using my backpack, as there were so many warnings about pickpockets. My camera was slung around my neck for most of my outings, like a true tourist!

My Jensen Booties by Acne Studios proved to be an excellent travel accessory because it was both a “comfortable walking boot for the DAY” and “a smart looking winter boot for the EVENING”. I brought another pair of boots, but they were a bit on the chunky side and not exactly suitable for a fancy restaurant. So I probably could have saved a bit of room in my luggage and just brought these Jensens haha.

Also I lived in my black Le Color Skinny Jeans by Frame. They were just so comfortable, they were slightly thick to give me a little warmth and they looked great.

I have hundreds of photos from my Paris trip! Can’t wait to share my highlights!

xxx


Quilted Handbag

28 January 2017

Rebecca Minkoff Purse

It’s the Chinese New Year and according to tradition you’re supposed to buy a new outfit to wear. Sounds pretty good to me!

While not exactly an outfit, I picked out this new Rebecca Minkoff Quilted Mini Affair Bag as my go-to clutch for simple, evening dinners. A lot of my bags are medium-sized and in a casual style. I’ve never owned a black leather clutch for more “dressed up occasions”.

Anyway – yay – this quilted bag is a great size, made from lovely leather, and it’s a classic style that goes with everything.

I can fit my purse, phone, lipstick, keys and compact camera in this baby!

Rebecca Minkoff Purse

I was tossing between this Quilted Mini Affair style, or this Geo Quilted Crossbody Bag or the Love Crosbody Bag.

I eventually chose the Quilted Mini because of its smaller size (20cm x 15cm), the chain on the shoulder strap is thicker and it has a 2-length strap, which means I can easily change the length of the strap (long crossbody style where the bag sits below my hip or having it sit above my hip).

Yes, it’s very Chanel-esque without the Chanel-esque price tag, which is why I chose it, but it means I get to save for another bag I have my eyes on — oops!

Also pictured here are my Marc Bale Rose Gold Watch and The Peachbox Pearl Orb Bangle and Acne Studios Suede Pumps.

Happy Lunar New Year!


What I Wore: The British Museum

24 January 2017

Topshop Khaki Coat

This is me at The British Museum! My lovely mum and I stood against this white wall and tried to dodge the huge crowd of of visitors, tourists and school kids – which was close to impossible!

I’m showing off my new Double Breasted Coat from Topshop.

Love the colour! So affordable and great quality too.

I wasn’t actually planning to buy a coat during my trip. I have so many at home in Australia.

You see, I didn’t pack a nice, wool coat for my 4 week stay in London, because my sister said I could borrow her coats. She and I are the same size, so it made sense to reduce my luggage weight, which actually just meant I brought 5 pairs of shoes instead of 4.

Anyway, when I found out her only wool coat was a Burberry one – I borrowed it once, wore it for 7 hours, walked around all day doing some shopping and sight seeing, slinging my backpack over my shoulder – I KNEW that I would scuff it up and wear it out at the shoulder (from the constant rubbing of my bag strap).

So I didn’t want to damage her coat, so haha that was my excuse to buy myself a new coat.

Not a Burberry one though!

I’m also wearing a Turtleneck Wool Sweater from Country Road (old season), Uniqlo Heattech Top (lovely and warm!), Frame denim Jeans, Adidas Stan Smiths (on sale at ASOS), and my Rebecca Minkoff Backpack.


What I Wore: COS and Burberry

20 January 2017

At the Victoria and Albert Museum

This is me looking like a school girl at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the museum of art and design.

Not so hilarious, because I was acting like one… reading every panel, examining every detail and taking zillions of photos.

That place was AWE-INSPIRING! Loved it so much! We spent hours there!

As for my outfit…

I went shopping on Regent Street the day before and I bought this dress from COS, a Straight Cut Crinkle Dress (on sale too!).

Wearing a BambooBody Scoop Singlet under the dress for extra warmth.

I have my lovely Acne Studios Jensen Booties, which were so comfortable to wear all day.

My Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack, just to make myself look even more like a school girl :P

And I borrowed my sister’s Burberry Wool Cashmere Coat, which was flipping amazing.

Tee hee, it’s very cool that we are exactly the same clothes size and shoe size. Too bad we both live on different sides of the world though!