19 March, 2013

This Trip Is Making Me All Emotional

 
So there's only 3 days until I leave for the USA!!!! *SQUEEEEAAAALLL* As you can probably guess I am beyond excited and I've already started packing and tomorrow is my last day at work and I'm just trying not to think about it too much so that hopefully the time will pass quickly. But at the same time, it's really hard not to think about it! I've noticed over the last few days, or the last week or so, I've actually been feeling quite emotional about it.
 
I think it really hit home the other weekend at the BrizVegas Kustom Karnival. I was saying goodbye to my friends, a few of which I was really excited to say 'see you in Vegas' to, but most of which I won't be seeing until I get back. And everyone was so lovely, giving me the biggest squeezy hugs and wishing me the best time and telling us how happy they are for me. And I could feel the tears welling up. It's silly really, I'll only be gone for a month. It's not like I'm going for a year, or never coming back. But at the same time, I kind of understood. It's the same reason it makes me feel emotional. It's such a significant event in my life. The way everyone has cared so much and has shared all my excitement, really just makes me feel so grateful to have the most amazing friends.
 
Same goes for my family. They have all been so amazing and supportive and encouraging. They are all so happy and excited for me. And proud I know. And it just makes me feel so incredibly loved and grateful. My family sure isn't perfect, but they are perfect to me. And I know that without them and the decisions they've made in their lives and the way they brought me up and the things they taught me, I wouldn't be in this position now. And I just feel so thankful to them for that. For helping shape this person that I am today. It probably sounds all a bit sappy, but when I think about it I choke up. I feel so surrounded by love right now and it is definitely the happiest I've ever been in my life. I sent random text messages to my family the other day, telling them how much I love them. It was a bit out of the blue and I think they all thought I'd gone a bit funny, but I just felt such an overwhelming need to tell them, show them, how much I love them and how grateful I am for everything they've done for me.
 
I have the best mother, father, big sister, step mother, step father, brother-in-law and friends in the entire world and I'm about to fulfill a dream. I often wonder how this little outcast girl from Woodridge ever got so lucky, but I never wonder for long. Because there's no point, and I'd rather spend my time feeling happy and grateful for it instead of questioning it.

So what about you guys? Are you gonna miss me while I'm gone for a month?

18 March, 2013

How To Set Up Your Own Online Fashion Boutique

If you’re like me and are positively mad for fashion, you’ve probably at least once dreamed of starting your own fashion boutique. Yet we remain content to shop in those owned by others. But online shopping has opened up the doors of possibility and I know many people who have decided to be brave and take their love for fashion that step further. So I wanted to find out what really goes into setting up your own online fashion boutique. I asked around about what the basic process and top tips were and it seems all you need is a bit of start-up cash and a good eye for inventory, and you could be sitting pretty in your virtual shop in a matter of days.
 


Step 1: Define Your Market


You're probably already aware of just how much competition there is out there when it comes to online shopping. The best way to get started with setting up your own fashion boutique is to choose a niche market. This could be something like vintage styles from a particular era, or customisable jewellery. Choosing a niche area to specialise in will help you focus your marketing efforts and really make your shop stand out.


Step 2: Source Your Inventory

Although it's tempting to simply create a shop that caters to your personal tastes, you'll also want to keep your customer in mind. You may go through a period of trial and error as you stock your boutique. Engaging with your target audience helps, so always ask for feedback as you're getting started. One option is to purchase your inventory from wholesalers, estate sales, or vintage shops. You can also start creating relationships with independent designers to stock your online shop. However, many online retailers choose to work with drop-shippers, who house and ship your inventory for you. The right source of inventory will depend on how unique you want your clothing to be. If you're selling big brands, drop-shipping could be perfect. However, for a funky vintage boutique, you'll probably want to have a more personal hand in acquiring and storing stock.


Step 3: Create a Website

With your inventory ready to go and a clear vision of what you want your brand to look like, you can then set up a website. You'll need secure web hosting and a visually appealing virtual storefront. Most web hosting services help provide you with customisable templates, so you can play around with the design of your shop. It's helpful to take a look at other online shops that you admire, to get an idea of what works and what doesn't. With the array of ecommerce software available today, you don't need to be an IT expert in order to figure out how to create a website.  You will need to upload your inventory onto your website. Be sure to take attractive photographs of the garments. Visuals are extremely important in an online setting, when a customer can't try on the products themselves. Accurate measurements are important as well.


Step 4: Spread the Word

There are many outlets for online advertising. Create social networking profiles for your new shop, and use a blog to reach out to a wider audience. You can find other websites where your key market visits, and place paid ads on these sites. Another cost-effective advertising option for start-ups is to utilise pay-per-click advertising. These ads can be placed on fashion blogs, and you only pay when a customer follows the link. I’m sure you’ve all noticed these businesses I support through the ads in the sidebar and the occasional sponsored post.
 

Although it takes a bit of time, effort, and funding to get started, the payoff of running an online boutique seems to be well worth it for all the fashion lovers I’ve spoken to!

So tell me, would you be game to set up your own online boutique? What would you stock?

12 March, 2013

Handmade With Love: BooBoo Kitty Couture

 
If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen the debut of my amazing new custom made skirt from BooBoo Kitty Couture on the weekend. I absolutely LOVE the fabric of this skirt and it fits like a glove! I had seen this fabric used to make a dress and knew right away as soon as I saw it that I HAD to have it, in a pencil skirt. I emailed Aislinn, the amazing woman behind this label, with all my measurements and she got right onto it. Unfortunately due to Australia Post being total pains in the butts, the first skirt Aislinn sent me got lost in the mail. She was an absolute treasure and made me another one and got it to me in time for my US trip.
 
BooBoo Kitty Couture is a UK handmade bespoke clothing line offering made to measure skirts, dresses and accessories inspired by true vintage. Vintage and couture sewing techniques are used for every garment, ensuring the highest quality of workmanship and fabrics are sourced from all over the world to create unique and one of a kind garments. Aislinn is the lovely lady behind this label and she lovingly handmakes everything you see on the website and in her etsy store as well as anything else you can dream up and send her. A qualified textile designer, her workmanship is second to none.
 
This skirt is perfectly tailored to my shape which makes it really flattering yet comfortable to wear. The fabric is a soft but durable cotton and the skirt is fully lined on the inside. Considering the amount of work it takes for one woman to run her business and handmake all of these wonderful creations to such a high standard, I am so impressed with both the quality and price point of the BooBoo Kitty Couture label. I will definitely be a repeat customer, especially after the fantastic service that I received. You can shop the BooBoo Kitty Couture etsy store for items ready to ship right now or contact Aislinn to get your very own made to measure custom piece.
 
 

11 March, 2013

Flying in Comfort & Style

I’m actually not a big flyer. The furtherest I’ve ever flown is 2 hours to Melbourne. About 3 times in my life. So the 13 hour flight to LA and then 1 hour connecting flight to Las Vegas is going to be an interesting experience. Apart from all the beauty essentials I went over last week, the other piece of advice I’ve been told is comfort comfort comfort! Cosy comfy trackie dacks and the like. Although I’m not vain and I DO want to be comfortable when I fly, the image of me greeting my stretch limo in Vegas looking like a slobby dishevelled traveller just doesn’t do it for me.

So, I’ve been considering my options and trying to come up with an outfit that strikes the perfect balance between comfort and style. That would be the above outfit. And you know what? I think I’ve found it! The leggings are really soft, stretchy and comfy and while the mini skirt is comfortable, it will preserve my modesty before I board the flight but can be easily slipped off once on board for added comfort. The top is also really soft and stretchy and is really comfortable while the cardigan is cosy, comfy and warm and the faux fur collar is really nice to snuggle up against.

Everything is made of very soft and stretchy fabrics which makes them very comfortable. The converse shoes are comfy and will help to keep my feet warm but can also be easily slipped off if I feel like making myself at home. I plan on packing a pair of socks in my carry on in case I want to have my shoes off but my feet are cold. I’ve got my hair up in this picture but I’ll probably start off with it down and take a hair brush and some hair elastics in my carry on so I can pull it back it starts to annoy me. The bandana is great for keeping my hair out of my face and can easily be undone and taken off if I feel like it.

Of course I’m also taking a travel pillow, my face spritz, some lip balm, a little moisturiser, tissues, a little perfume and some pain killers. I think that should about do it. I’ll be ready to survive the flight in comfort and style and won’t look like a hot mess by the time I meet my limo driver in Vegas.

Have you flown much? What are your tips for this jetsetting newbie?

07 March, 2013

The Dreams You Never Knew You Had

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Lately I’ve been feeling extremely lucky, and with each passing day it seems that things just keep getting better and better. I can’t quite believe how fortunate I am, although I am infinitely grateful for it. Someone remarked to me the other day that I am not ‘lucky’, and that luck somehow implies chance, when really my situation is brought on by hard work, skill and being a good person. While that is true to a degree, I still feel incredibly lucky to be being presented with the opportunities I am being presented, because I know a LOT of people who work hard, have amazing skills and are wonderful people and they don’t always have a life filled with rainbows and happiness.

So I shall continue to consider myself lucky…

It’s funny though, the way life happens. You have all these dreams and big plans for yourself and the way you think your life is going to turn out. And it never happens that way. Well, hardly ever. If you had’ve asked me when I was finishing high school what I wanted to do with my life, I would have told you that I was going to be a brave and ruthless journalist who was going to change the world. Asked me a year and a half into my degree I would have said I have no idea but please just let me get through this degree. Asked me at my university graduation with a bit of publication start up experience under my belt and I would have said starting my own sub-culture magazine, but not before being the editor of a high powered women’s lifestyle magazine.

Asked me in my first post-graduate job writing résumés and selection criteria and I would have said I don’t care just get me the frick out of here! Asked me when I was unemployed for 6 months and I would have said dunno, probably nothing, I am shit. Asked me when I was writing recruitment marketing material and I would have said I don’t have time to think about it, I’m too stressed and I hate this place, and then probably burst into tears. Asked me when I was writing property profiles for a real estate investment company and I would have said I’m not sure, I don’t even know what I’m good at anymore and if I even am any good, if I ever was in the first place.

But then along came this little job that I work at now. A job writing the web content for a travel site. It would be ok I guess. It was a LOT of writing, would probably get a bit tedious at times (it definitely has) but it was nice and close to where I lived, the pay was decent, it was something a bit different and it was at least heading back towards being creative and actually applying my craft of writing. I would never have thought to describe it as my ‘dream job’, although I had lost sight of what that was quite some time ago. But a little over 2 years on, that’s exactly what it is. I love my job. And I know there’s not many people who can say that.

I have a great work environment, they don’t mind the way I dress or the fact that I am increasingly becoming covered in more and more tattoos. They like my ideas, they foster my creativity, they care about their employees and they don’t stress me out. I enjoy going to work each day. I am lucky. And I just got a whole lot luckier, because now they’re sending me travelling!! About a week after I get back to work after the USA, they’re sending me to Fiji for 5 days and then about 4 weeks after that I’m off to the Whitsundays for 3 days!! I’m so excited and I just can’t believe my luck!

I’ve only been to Fiji once very briefly and I’ve never been to the Whitsundays so I’m really looking forward to experiencing both of them. To have them happen so soon after the US is also pretty cool, I have to admit I feel like a bit of a jetsetter! But I guess after a 13 hour flight to the USA, some quick flights to Fiji and the Whitsundays will feel like a walk in the park!

I will say this though, you spend a LOT of time at work. It’s such a big part of your life, so it’s not worth being unhappy. I’ve been there, we’ve all been there and sometimes you gotta just pay the bills. Do what you have to do to get by, but never settle for something that doesn’t make you happy at least part of the time. It is not worth it. If you hate it, get out there and find something else.

So what do you do for a crust? Do you love it? If not, what is your dream job?

05 March, 2013

Top Tips for Travelling in Style

As my trip to the US gets closer (16 days, but who’s counting?) my mind is full of all the lovely little things I want to take with me to keep me looking lovely. After all, I don’t want to be greeted by my Las Vegas stretch limo hotel transfer looking like a bedraggled traveller! So I’ve been trawling blogs and beauty sites looking for some tips and tricks to keep me looking and feeling fresh while in transit. It seems the general consensus is moisture, moisture, moisture!

Whether it be from the air con in the plane, the change in climate, the amount of partying and late nights or driving through the Las Vegas desert with the top down on your convertible (yes, I will be doing this!) there are lots of factors at play that will dry you out, so the trick is to keep your skin super hydrated and almost everything else should just follow.
 
This hydrating mist toner from trilogy combines rose, geranium and lavender with a light alcohol-free formula to spritz and lift your skin at any time. This will be perfect for on the plane, I can just spritz every now and again from the comfort of my seat. The scent is pleasant but not overpowering so won’t annoy other travellers and you just let the formula dry naturally on your skin. It feels really refreshing and at the end of the day, spritzing this over my makeup makes it look freshly applied. It doesn't smell girlie so even guys can use this too. It cools your skin and just makes you feel nice and awake and fresh.

Can you believe I’d never actually tried anything Burt’s Bees before?? It’s a travesty! This stuff is sooo good for you skin and smells heavenly as well! The kit contains Soap Bark and Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream (20g), Hand Salve (25g), Naturally Nourishing Milk & Honey Lotion (25g), Fabulously Fresh Peppermint & Rosemary Body Wash (50mL), Coconut Foot Cream (20g) and Beeswax Lip Balm (4.25). The perfect little sizes for travelling, these are easy to apply on the go and really will keep you soft and supple from top to toe.
 
I have long been a follower of the gospel that is Benefit, especially their skincare! This kit contains Foamingly Clean facial wash 8.9g, Refined Finish facial polish 8.9g, Moisture Prep toning lotion 8.9ml, Triple Performing facial emulsion SPF 15 PA++ 8.9ml, Total Moisture facial cream 3g and It's Potent! eye cream 3g so again, the perfect sizes for travelling. The whole kit comes in a handy resealable clear plastic waterproof case and will keep your skin in amazing condition, including the eye cream which will help to disguise all those late Vegas nights! The Foamingly Clean facial wash is also the best face wash I've ever used and is not also pretty much the only one I will use. The It's Potent! eye cream also works wonders on dark circles and under eye bags.
 
I LOVE this product! It’s the perfect combination of a lip balm and proper red lipstick. I use the Cherry Tart shade for a nice vibrant red, and it goes on quickly, smoothly and easily. It’s not as long lasting as a complete lip colour, but lasts longer than your average tinted balm. It keeps your lips soft while adding noticeable colour and doesn’t feel heavy or sticky. This is the perfect way to keep a polished looking pout on the go, so you don’t have to feel like you’re roughing it (or naked) on the road.



Preparation is Everything
I want my personal grooming and maintenance to be as minimal as possible while I’m away. I don’t want to be wasting time spending ages getting ready, I want to be out there and enjoying every minute of the experience, so I want to be as prepared as possible. Right before I leave I’m getting a proper brow sculpt and tint, my nails done, a fringe trim from a pro and eyelash extensions. If I can roll out of bed with a few enhancements and only have to worry about a quick pat of BB cream or powder, a quick slick of lip butter and a little swipe of liquid liner, I’ll be ready to face the world in no time.

Looking after your skin in the lead up to going away is also a great way to minimise the time you need to spend on yourself in the morning. Apart from that, the rest is all about the wardrobe…and that’s coming soon ;)

What are your recommendations for staying glam while you travel?

04 March, 2013

Viva BrizVegas

This coming weekend is my second-last weekend left in Brisbane before heading to Las Vegas and what better way to spend it than at the BrizVegas Kustom Karnival at Acacia Ridge! Set up in the sprawling car park and two levels of indoor markets and entertainment, from high noon til about 6pm on the Sunday you can join me, rockin out to DJ Leapin' Lawrie (QLD), The Lincolns(ADEL), Men Into Space (QLD), Pat Cappoci Combo (SYD), CC Jerome's Jetsetters (NETHERLANDS) and Los Straitjackets (USA).


There'll be hot rods filling the car park, a low brow art display, indoor market village, tasty food, cheap drinks, a cool place to hang out, DJs, dancing, live rockabilly bands and the kitten katwalk pin up parade if you fancy showing off your frock. Tickets are just $20 advance available here or $25 at the door. Gates open at 11am for the general public and 10.30 for the hot rod show entrants. Vehicles should be pre-1970 Australian and American hot rods, rat rods, sleds, muscle and customs as well as vintage motorcycles, bobbers and lowrider cycles. A.S.R.F Travel Permit TC 265-01-2013.

So come rock out with your frock out and help me party away the weekend. I promise not to bang on too much about my trip...well, I'll try.