Search Results

 

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.


What I Wore: Acne Studios Raya Oversized Cardigan

25 July 2016

Acne Studios Oversized Cardigan

After returning home from my amazing 3 week family holiday, after doing all the laundry, getting over the jet lag and falling a bit sick… guess what I discovered?

I couldn’t fit back into my skinny jeans haha!

I put on 3kgs while I was away!

I had to dig out and wear my old, “slim” jeans, which were also a bit snug at the waist.

It was all the home cooked country meals, the fresh scones, the apples pies, the crusty breads, the pancakes, the beef pies, the meatballs, the roast chicken and gravy… I enjoyed myself immensely!! It was soooo worth it haha.

Perhaps my photo doesn’t show it, but I went for a run the other day and I wobbled in new places all over my body – my tummy, hips, thighs and bottom… oops!

Thank goodness, it’s winter in Australia, so I can just hide under some layers while I sort out my eating :)

Acne Studios Oversized Cardigan

My new Raya Oversized Cardigan by Acne Studios (from Shopbop) is just right for extra layering. It’s gorgeously fluffy, snuggly, roomy and light enough to wear between seasons.

Even though it’s a cardigan, I wear it like a light coat. A long coat!

In fact, it was a bit nippy this morning, so I was wearing 3 layers under it – a BambooBody fitted tank top, a Sportsgirl boyfriend t-shirt, and a Country Road black slim cardigan.

I’m also wearing black jeans from Cotton On, white high top sneakers from Ecco Shoes and handbag from Witchery.

I took these photos with a tripod and self-timer, in an empty carpark, in between sorting out my car insurance and work meeting, because I’m waaaaay too shy/mortified/embarrassed to have a proper photographer snap me in real life haha!

Hope you all have a wonderful week!


What I Wore: 90s Floral Print in a Grown Up Style

15 July 2016

Floral Dress

Floral prints are definitely a new season trend.

I’ve see them popping up everywhere and while a part of me sighs at the repeat of yet another fashion trend from my youth, hey, I can’t resist a bit of floral in my wardrobe.

Yep these wild, floral prints have been around before. And particularly, this kind of floral print (with a black background) was HUGE in the 90s. I had a so many of these dresses back then! I was so grunge haha!

Anyway, my biggest challenge was to try wearing this print in a grown up style – that is – without making myself cringe because I’m dressing like a teenager.

I picked out this Black Lantern Floral Print Dress, which was provided by Shein, as a sample for me to try out.

Honestly I loved the print (it’s not overly busy), the sleeves, the v-neck (not too revealing), the nipped in waist and the flattering skirt.

BUT I had to alter it slightly, because it was way too voluminous for me in the body and I didn’t like the choker detail. Specifically, I cut off some panels of fabric from the back. if you look at the photos of the original dress, you’ll see what I mean.

Floral Dress

It has a very easy-to-wear style, it’s comfortable, it’s very flowy, flattering and feminine and best of all it was only AUS$38 (US$28). The fabric is very nice too.

Personally, I don’t think you should spend big on these floral dresses, so I recommend hitting up ASOS, Zara, Sportsgirl for your floral dress fix.

Or here are some other pretty floral dresses from Shein – I was obsessing over whether to get this floral maxi dress (AUS$26) too.

Also wearing: Over the knee boots from Betts, A.P.C. Half Moon Bag from Shopbop.

Happy shopping!


It’s the little things

13 July 2016

Charlotte Olympia Card Holder

I’ve always been careful with my money.

When I first started working, I used to live at home and I would save half of my fortnightly income.

My parents would often call me “a saver” and “a careful spender” when describing my relationship with money, which – at the time – I wasn’t sure if they were teasing me for being a thrifty tight-ass haha.

As the years went by, my girlfriends started their handbag collections with Pradas and LVs… yes I was quite envious – but I had other priorities, I got married at 24, bought a house, had a baby and well… things were really tight for us.

It has only been in the last couple of years that we’ve found a comfortable space; my online business is doing incredibly well, and I’ve started to spend (invest!) a bit more on little luxury items for my wardrobe.

Charlotte Olympia Card Holder

I guess it also helps that there are so many designer sales on too!

Which leads me onto my latest purchase.

I recently finished a huge freelance job and rewarded myself with a special little something (with the help of a gift card too, courtesy of Shopbop).

I bought this Charlotte Olympia card holder from Shopbop during their last round of Designer Sales.

It’s just a wee little thing, but I absolutely love the delicate and feminie details on it.

It’s perfect for my smaller handbags. It’s pretty and practical.

Charlotte Olympia Card Holder

Anyway, this time Shopbop are having a 25% off all items from their Designer Boutique section – which is pretty amazing!

Just use the code “DESIGNER25″ at the checkout, until July 14, 2016, at 7p.m AEST.

For me, being that little bit older and wiser, I can appreciate my little luxuries and they are all the more special to me.

Hope you enjoy the sale! And hope you manage to find a comfortable space for yourself for little luxuries too.

Have an amazing week everyone!


What I Wore: Grey Bustier

6 July 2016

Keepsake Strapless Top from Revolve

Yes I know it’s winter here in Australia! But hey, some days are warm enough for a strapless top and a light cardigan.

This gorgeous top is a Grey Tessellate Top from Revolve. It’s still on sale (XS, S, M still available), if anyone is interested?!

I bought it because I wear skinny jeans a lot and wanted a top that was a bit unstructured but still super-flattering.

I’m not going to lie, I know strapless tops suit me and look great on my body shape. It accentuates my best features! It looks young and pretty, but still elegant, effortless and a bit grown up.

It is actually a crop top, with a floppy layer, open on one side, so it flashes my tummy and waist at certain angles, but I’m ok with that.

I’m wearing the XS/6 and it fits me very well across the chest. It doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall down.

Grey Strapless Top by Keepsake, from Revolve

The only issue with the top… is that the chest has double layered fabric (because of the petal layer thing) and is a bit heavy, so the top hem falls forward and looks weird – I suspect it’s because I have a small bust.

So to make it sit right, I had to wear TWO strapless bras! Haha it sounds so crazy, but it wasn’t that bad. It just felt like I was wearing a bikini swimsuit underneath.

It looked perfect on me after that :)

I still felt comfortable enough to wear it and move around all day. It didn’t particularly make my boobs look bigger either, because all the floppy fabric just made my whole chest look shapeless haha. Double bras! Omg I don’t believe I’m admitting these things on the internet!

I love that I can wear this with culottes, high waisted skirt, pants, jeans and who knows, maybe denim shorts when summer comes around.

Keepsake Strapless Top from Revolve

Wearing:

Grey Tessellate Top from Revolve
White jeans, Similar
Nude Heels from ASOS
Tory Burch Handbag


A.P.C Half Moon Bag

4 July 2016

Last year, I had a fairly quiet birthday. This year… eeek, I was a little spoilt!

I received a couple of lovely (and adorably thoughtful) gifts from my husband, my kids, friends and my parents.

Aaaand… for myself, behold my birthday splurge!

APC Half Moon Handbag

I got myself an A.P.C Half Moon Bag courtesy of Shopbop.

I’ve actually been a fan of A.P.C (Atelier de Production et de Création) for a long time. I love love LOVE their understated yet feminine style.

I wanted to buy one of their light sweaters a while ago and hunted around for one – which is how I came to know about their Half Moon Bags.

I absolutely adore the shape. I love that it is timeless, understated, simple and casual. It’s not overly expensive, as compared to other designer bags, and it’s a bit more unique and unusual.

I was considering to get the bag in a tan colour. But in the end, I chose the black, because I plan to use it as my everyday small bag.

APC Half Moon Handbag

Already I find it nice and sturdy. It can take a small knock and doesn’t seem to scuff up easily.

It’s just big enough for my purse, phone, keys, tissues and small cosmetics pouch.

It’s just such a lovely bag!


My First Grown Up Purse from Tory Burch

23 June 2016

Tory Burch Purse

Tory Burch Wallet in the Saffiano Envelope Continental style.

As a birthday present to myself, I finally got myself a “proper” purse!!

I say that because I have always liked to have “fun” purses.  I liked the idea of having a serious, stylish black handbag and pulling out a crazy, fun purse or wallet.

My previous purse was a Country Road, crinkled silver leather purse, which I bought for $33 in a clearance pile. Very fun right? Unfortunately, after a few months of use, the zip stopper broke off. I had to sew up the end, so the zip wouldn’t fall off its tracks. After that it lasted me YEARS!

My purse before that, was a bright orange purse. Very fun.

However, I spilled some hand cream in my handbag and it went all over the orange leather and I couldn’t get the blotchy stain out. It looked pretty yucky for a while and not so fun haha.

Anyway, I don’t know about you, but my purses ALWAYS get bashed and gross after a few years of being handled so often. Even after cleaning my leather with proper cleaning stuff, they still look bad. The corners scuff up and sometimes the flaps get dog-eared.

Do other people experience this??

I’m not a particularly dirty person… I always clean my hands, I always look after my things, I don’t have drinks near my leather goods, I don’t place my leathers on surfaces, I don’t ever let my kids touch my purse… so I guess it’s just the general handling of the leather right?

So knowing that my purse is going to look like crap in 1-2 years, I don’t like to spend too much on a purse.

Tory Burch Purse

Buuuuut, I thought I wold try a purse with a different sort of leather this time.

Last year, I bought this Michael Kors Selma handbag in saffiano leather and I was really delighted by how durable, robust and lasting it looked. It was enough to convince me to try to buy a new purse.

The saffiano leather on this Tory Burch Envelope Wallet is amazing. It is slightly textured and seems to look like brand new every time I pull it out of my handbag.

I am the first to admit that it’s not very “fun” and it may be construed as “boring”… but I’m thinking more along the lines of “grown up and lady like” haha.

Besides… I love that it doesn’t show any finger prints, water marks, sweat, slight dirt stains, scratches, bumps – nothing! Nothing boring about that.

I completely recommend it for now. And I’ll let you know how I go in 1-2 years :)


Summer In Scotland

20 June 2016

Scotland Edinburgh Castle
(Edinburgh Castle, photo taken by my husband in 2011)

 

Hi everyone! I have some super exciting news to share…  we are going to Scotland for 3 weeks for a family holiday!

As some of you may know, my husband was born in Scotland and we decided to take all our kids over to visit family, see the country, go hiking, find castles, climb mountains and practice our poor Scottish accents.

We’ve secured some accommodation in the Scottish Highlands, overlooking lush greenery, lakes and mountains. Aah it’s going to be so beautiful!

We’re all pretty excited!

Scottish Highlands
(Photo of the West Coast of the Scottish Highlands, taken by my husband in 2011.)

This year has been filled with so many amazing adventures, exciting successes, fun, love, growth… and of course the crazy-busy lives of our kids. Now suddenly half the year is gone and it’s almost July?!

It’ll be so good to step away from it all and spend time – real, quality time – with our kids.

I leave in a week and I can’t wait to share photos and stories with you all :)

Internet will be a bit lean, but I’m going to try and update my Facebook Page (easier to share with family and friends), Instagram (@karenlycheng) and hopefully Snapchat (@heykarencheng) – if it works in the Highlands!


Wearing: Celine Baby Audrey Sunglasses

19 June 2016

Brought to you by Vision Direct

Celine Sunglasses

With my birthday coming up, I was so so soooo pleased to work with Vision Direct for this blog post.

I picked out my ultimate sunglasses – the ones I have been lusting over for years – the Celine Baby Audrey Sunglasses.

Named after Audrey Hepburn and the glasses she wore in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, these sunglasses are definitely a fashion classic.

My biggest dilemma was to choose between the “Audrey” sunglasses or smaller “Baby Audrey” sunglasses.

(I know, talk about first world problems?!)

I did a google search for “Audrey vs Baby Audrey Sunglasses” and I came across this YouTube video, which funnily enough, happened to be by Vision Direct, but they didn’t actually ask me to link to it or anything, it was just part of my own research for trying to decide which ones to buy.

Anyway, it was such a great review video because the lady showed a side by side comparison of the two sunglasses, as well as putting both on her face, one after the other. So because of this video, I decided to choose the Baby Audrey ones.

Celine Sunglasses

I picked the Celine Baby Audrey with a Havana frame and Grey Green lens. The actual product name is Celine CL 41053/S Baby Audrey 05D/1E.

I decided not to choose black, because I already have a few sunglasses in black.

And I DEFINITELY made the right decision.

These sunglasses were surprisingly light weight, so they don’t hurt my face and nose after wearing them for a long time.

They fit perfectly within my the area of my face, so they are not too large and too overwhelming.

They do leave a little impression on my nose, but honesty, my Ray-Ban Wayfarers give me a more noticeable mark on my nose.

In terms of price, they are selling at Vision Direct on the cheaper end of the scale for that style. I’ve seen it online at David Jones for $450 and other places for $395 – $475. I actually saw one going for $298… but I’ve never heard of that shop before.

Vision Direct have a 100-day return policy, and I’ve actually bought from this site before, returned and swapped for a larger size, with no dramas and they have excellent customer service and communication.

Yay I’m super happy with my new shades. Let’s hope I don’t sit on them!

Celine Sunglasses

Wearing:

Celine Baby Audrey Sunglasses
Tibi Silk Cami
Frame Denim jeans (They fit so well!!)
Tony Bianco heels (Lyla)
Michael Kors handbag (Selma Stud)


My Birthday Wishlist!

16 June 2016

Ah ha, so my birthday is coming up… and my 3 sons asked me what birthday gift would I like?

I told them it has to be – Something simple and thoughtful. Something that THEY think I would like.

So they came up with a few ideas which were all VERY cute, very sweet and very much a reflection of all our “in jokes” and our common interests. I approved them and they were very relieved that I liked their ideas. I’ll share pictures of them when I receive them!

Anyway it got me thinking about other great gift ideas, and I came up with a list.

Yes these are things I would like, but they are such cool gift ideas, that I might get them as Christmas gifts for my girlfriends? Am I mad?

Camera Bags Rebecca Minkoff and Shaffer

For YEARS I have looked for a stylish camera bag (for my huge DSLR), and I have resolved that they don’t exist and I’ll never have one that I’d be happy with.

But isn’t it funny now – digital cameras have become smaller in size and now there are these super cute and super versatile bags for sale. These two look beautiful! And they could both double up as a regular handbag.

Left: Rebecca Minkoff Camera Bag –  I’m liking the little metal detail.

Right: Shaffer Camera Bag – I think I like this plain, slouchy, understated look more.

Novelty Keyrings from Shopbop

Ok so I love a bit of novelty. Especially novelty leather bag charms!

These are so cute, cool and weird that I would love all of them haha.

Kate Spade Keychain – Bananas! Just adorable. Would love to have these on dangling on my black handbag.

Kate Spade Keychain – Passion Fruit Drink. I really like this one because it looks more like a healthy smoothie than a cocktail. And y’all know I like my smoothies.

Iphoria Bag Charm – Bomb. Very cool, but a bit abstract. You have to do a double take. And you might get flagged as a security risk if you talk about your “bomb” haha.

Novelty Keyrings from Shopbop

When my youngest boy, Liam was a newborn, my other two boys and I (at the time they were 6 and 4 years old) went shopping to buy Liam a little toy gift. We chose a soft, dangly lion with a musical bell, because “Lion” was very similar to “Liam”.

So now whenever I see toy lion charms, I always get a bit warm and fuzzy in my heart and I think of all my boys.

Anyway, I spotted this Lion charm and found a few other cute animal bag charms that I felt I had a connection with too. Ok this is all getting a bit too lovey and cheesy.

Tory Burch Bag Charm – Cute lion!

Kate Spade Keychain – Turtle. I used to be a scuba diver and I have an insanely soft spot for turtles.

Kate Spade Keychain – Parrot. Love this vibrant red colour and it reminds me of tropical jungles. (I am from a tropical island. But my tropical island didn’t have red parrots. Just red crabs haha!)

Having said all this, I would much prefer my boys to get me a gift from their heart, and as much lovey cheese as possible.

(Oh and for my birthday, my husband is taking me on an overseas holiday! But it’s a family holiday, so I don’t think it counts. More about that soon…) 


Kiehl’s Nightly Micro-Peel and Ultra Facial Cream

7 June 2016

Kiehl’s recently launched a new stack of beauty products… and a few found their way to my mailbox. Hooray!

Admittedly I was a tiny bit reluctant to try new skincare as I’ve been trying to stick to a single regime – as recommended by my dermatologist, which is another story. And initially I was just planning to share it on Instagram only, without a full review.

But in the end, I gave them a 2 week trial – and WOW they were really good, so I was keen to share!

Kiehl's Face and Eye Cream, Micro Peel

The Ultra Facial Cream inspired by the popular Ultra Facial Moisturiser (a lotion), has a lovely, light and smooth texture and delivered an excellent dose of moisture and hydration to my skin.

The cream wasn’t too heavy, it didn’t make my skin feel yucky and my face didn’t feel dry over the course of the day. The fragrance was light and not overpowering. Some might say the fragrance has a very faint chemical smell, but I would choose that over a strong perfumed, musky, floral smell (which I really dislike).

Overall the cream was a simple and effective all day moisturiser.

My only fault that I’d bring to attention is that on the back of the tub there is a large 4-colour cartoon graphic of Greenland (which highlights Kiehl’s support for a historic expedition to Greenland’s ice peaks in 2005)… it looks weird and not very stylish :)

Kiel's NIghtly Refining Micro Peel

Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate

OK this is my winner!

I have been using a few different AHA’s (facial exfoliants) for about 5 years now. I don’t use them on a daily basis, even though many products say that you can use them daily or every second day. My main reason is because they are quite expensive, so I tend to use them every 5 days. I like to make them last! Second reason I don’t use them every day is because I tend to forget or get lazy.

The key ingredient is “Quinoa Husk Extract” which sounds like the product would be a husky-scrubby exfoliant, but it really just looks like a pale yellow liquid. It doesn’t feel oily at all.

This product is a peel, so I tested it for 2 days on my neck, in case I reacted badly to it. It was fine, so on the 3rd night I used a little tiny bit on my cheek, then on the 4th night I used it all over my face.

It tingled and stung a little, but the next morning my skin looked radiant, fresh and soft – which is the usual result whenever I use my other AHA products.

I didn’t use this Micro-Peel nightly, I used it every 2 days and as a result my skin and complexion was lovely.

It’s a little pricey, but the results are good!

(Compared to my other AHA products, which I rate 9/10 for exfoliating power, I would rate this one 8/10)

Kiehl's Face and Eye Cream, Micro Peel

Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado

Of the three products sent to me, I predicted that this one was going to be the one that I could write mediocre comments about so that my review would seem more credible haha. I can’t be a blogger who LOVES everything can I?

Anyway, it turned out that I really liked this cream too.

The texture is really unusual. Most eye creams are a bit like jelly, or oily, and overly greasy. But this cream is a super thick, light and smooth.

When I use my fingers to dab cream around my eyes, the cream almost feels like a thick face paint, but it quickly melts away and feels good on my skin. I liked it!

I even used it in the crease of my nose and around my lips, as I get a bit dry and flakey during winter.

Have you tried any of Kiehl’s latest products? What do you think?