October 28th, 2014

October Fitness Chat

Summer is coming, and with it comes renewed motivation and fresh inspiration. The warmer weather makes it so much easier to eat well and find time to fit in workouts throughout the week. My partner and I are both feeling extremely motivated at the moment (driven by a wedding we’re attending in January, and the fact that beach season is upon us), so we’re trying to help each other to get moving and eat better. Having this kind of support is endlessly helpful, but if you don’t have a partner to help you with your fitness endeavors, I find that a ‘gym buddy’ works just as well. Having someone besides yourself to be accountable to when it comes to working out, is surprisingly motivating.

September Goals
Unfortunately I failed to achieve my September goals. I didn’t reach my caloric burn goal, I wasn’t able to complete the Lorna Jane Squat Challenge, and we’re still eating out way more than we should (especially as we’re saving for a big trip next year). But it’s a new month, and I’m setting myself a fresh bunch of goals to achieve. Here we go!

October Goals
I find that when I have a schedule in place, I’m more likely to stick to a plan. So I wrote up a month’s worth of workouts on a calendar page and my goal is to achieve all of them in a month. I don’t have to do each workout on the date shown, but I do have to do ALL of them before the month ends. When they’ve been completed I’ll mark them off with a gold star. So far so good, but we’ll see how we go. Tying in with this, I want to start running on the little track we’ve worked out near our house. It takes me a bit longer to get into road-running, but there is so much additional benefit that it’s well worth the effort. Food-wise, we’re aiming for only one takeout meal per month. I’m sure we can achieve this, especially as we’re both in strict budget mode at the moment.

Health & Fitness Related Goodies
* The biggest motivation for me lately has been watching BreeLovesVlogs, as she has a very healthy lifestyle, and watching her constantly hitting up the gym or heading out to do some kind of fun workout is quite inspirational. ** This is an awful song, but it’s catchy, and it makes me want to move.

October 18th, 2014

Thoughts of the week…

01) There is a new Taylor Swift song in my ears, and all is right with the world. One day I will get the chorus out of my head. One day. Speaking of Taylor, her new Diet Coke ad is too adorable.

02) Kimberley so kindly pointed out this budgeting blog to me earlier in the week. I love all things budgeting, and I know a lot of you guys do too so I thought I would pass this one on for you to check out. If you know of any other budgeting blogs you think I might like to read, please let me know.

03) Speaking of Kimberley, she favourited a youtube video that popped up on my ‘what to watch’ list on YouTube, and I’m now OBSESSED with BreeLovesBeauty’s two channels. In particular, I love how positive and outgoing and energetic she is. If you’re after some motivation to get your butt moving, check out her video on tips for starting up a healthy lifestyle.

04) Ben says HELLO!

05) My Erin Condren planner arrived during the week, and I am SO excited to have it in my hot little hands. I decided to finish out the month of October using my Lilly Pulitzer planner, but I’m keen to get stuck into using the Erin Condren one when November rolls around. I’ve been scouring Etsy for stickers, and so far KarolinasKrafts is my favourite store to shop from.

06) I’ve never paid much attention to Ansel Elgort (what a name, eh?) before, but this video of him surprising Jimmy Kimmel’s niece is utterly adorable.

07) This was definitely my favourite random news story of the week.

08) Emma Stone and Jimmy Fallon play ‘Box Of Lies

09) So we started watching American Horror Story FreakShow last weekend… What the hell is up with that clown? Why. I’m never sleeping again. Thanks, Ryan Murphy.

10) Lisa Eldridge did a Downton Abbey makeup tutorial and I am all over it.

October 16th, 2014

50 Book Challenge (part 8)

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer (3/10) – Honestly, I picked this book up just so I could read it and get it off of my shelf. This was the third and final book in a series that I really wasn’t that interested in. This was a short and easy read, and I think from memory I powered through it over the course of a weekend. If you’re interested in post-apocalyptic stories this may interest you, but there isn’t much else going on to keep you interested, to be honest.

Lost & Found by Brooke Davis (7/10) – I was lucky enough to be given a copy of this book by the publishing company as part of their Australian marketing campaign for the book’s release release. They hid copies of the book throughout Perth city, and when I wasn’t lucky enough to find one for myself they were kind enough to deliver one to work for me. Such an amazing campaign, and I have since paid it forward and sent the book onto Tonile from ‘my cup and chaucer’ so she could have the opportunity to read it too. This book was incredibly sweet and touching, and had a lot of laugh out loud moments for me. The characters are all so rich, and feel so real, and the storyline is really something special.

The Circle by Dave Eggers (7/10) – Despite the protagonist in this book being absolutely AWFUL, the plot and the ethical questions posed by it were enough to make me enjoy ‘The Circle’ quite a lot. My IT-worker boyfriend is reading this at the moment and although he also hates the protaganist, he’s really enjoying the story. It’s the most probable ‘dystopian’ world I’ve seen a book set in, as it’s really not too different from how we live now and how we seem to be progressing as a society on the whole. One thing I will say about this is that I listened to the audiobook of the story, and the narrator used a very strange accent for nearly every supporting character in the story. It was quite offputting, so if you’re keen to read this I would suggest picking up a physical copy of the book.

The Sky So Heavy by Claire Zorn (5/10) – I was really excited to pick this up, as the author had been likened to John Marsden (one of the author idols of my teenage years), and the story seemed right up my alley. Not only does it centre around a post-apocalyptic world following a nuclear attack, but it’s set in Australia. Perfect. I did enjoy this book, but it was clearly set up to be the first book in a series, which bothered me a little bit. I’m not a big fan of series books, so if I’d known that going into the book I may not have bothered with it at all. Having said that, the book was pretty good, the characters weren’t annoying (this seems to be a big problem for me with YA fiction, as I’ve mentioned before), and a lot of the situations presented were pretty stark and realistic. Now that I’m into the story I’ll probably pick up the rest of the series when it eventually comes out.

October 15th, 2014

Product Review: Clear Intense Hydration Shampoo & Conditioner

I’ve been branching out a bit lately in what I use to clean my hair, and I’m liking it. I find that my hair performs best when I mix things up a little bit, so I’ve been using one brand for half of the week, and another for the second half. My ‘second half of the week’ hair routine revolves around this magical little duo from Clear. I have fine hair but a lot of it, and it’s been more prone to dryness than oiliness lately (which I assume is due in part to us slowly making our way out of winter – or perhaps it’s yet another sign that I’m getting old). This duo is the perfect combination for my type of hair. It cleans and moisturises my hair without weighing it down or making everything feel a bit too heavy, which some ‘hydrating’ products have been known to do. The scent is light and fresh and leaves the hair with that lovely ‘clean’ smell that I adore. The Clear Intense Hydration Shampoo & Conditioner retail for $9.50 and are currently half price and available for purchase from Priceline (note: this product was sent for consideration for review).
October 14th, 2014

Planning An Overseas Holiday Pt 1.

I love to plan. I like small scale planning projects and big scale planning projects, and most of all, I like planning something that results in me enjoying a wonderful holiday. I’m due for long service leave next year, which means I’ll have three months off of work (with pay), and will have the time and opportunity to do a little bit of international travel. I thought it might be fun to include a little holiday-planning series of posts on The Belle Lumiere, and this will be the first in a short string of posts revolving around how I plan an international trip.

Step 1 – Choose Your Destination
Have you ever sat down and thought about where in the entire world you’d like to travel to? It’s a near impossible task, as there are SO many options available. I’d already started thinking about heading back to New York at some stage, and my partner was all over the idea so we decided that the US was the best fit for our 2015 trip. Once we’d decided on the country, we broke it down to where in particular we’d like to visit and came up with New York, Washington DC, and Phoenixville (to hopefully visit some of my family).

Step 2 – Plan Your Travel Time
For me it was pretty easy to pick when we’d be heading overseas, as I only have a three month window to choose from. Looking at the months available, I decided that November would be the best month for us to travel in, as we both want to celebrate Thanksgiving in the US (October was too soon and December would be too cold). We’re still not sure how long we’ll be away for, but at this stage we’re loosely planning around a two-three week trip.

Step 3 – Think About Your Options (accommodation/travel)
It’s a good idea to start thinking about what you’re planning to do when you get to wherever it is that you’re going. Are you going to stay in a hostel, a hotel, with friends? How do you think you’ll get there, is there any particular flight path you think you want to take? At this stage we’re planning on just visiting the east coast of the US, so flying through Hong Kong makes the most sense. As for accommodation, I’m looking into AirBnB options to see what is available. If that fails, we’ll be looking for some reasonably priced hotel options. Hostels are not for us. Deciding what you want early on also makes it easier to keep an eye out for any flight or accommodation sales that may pop up before your travel date.

Step 4 – Write Up A Budget
Figuring out your budget early is the best way to plan a holiday, in my experience. Once you know how much money you can comfortably save, you know the base line of what you have to work with for your trip. Anything you can add into the kitty on top of that can be bonus money, or you can re-assess your budget halfway through the planning process and see if there is anything you’d like to switch up and possibly pay more for.

Step 5 – A General Plan
I like to think about just what it is I want to do when traveling, quite far in advance. I find writing a general, broad plan quite far in advance makes it a lot easier to get to the nitty-gritty detail planning as it gets closer to the date of travel. I’ve written up a list of touristy things we want to see and do while in the US, and as if I think of anything else as time progresses I’ll add them to the list.

So those are the initial planning steps that I follow, I’d love to hear if anyone has a similar or different method to planning an overseas trip! be sure to leave any tips or tricks you can think of in the comments below.

October 12th, 2014

Thoughts of the week…

01) American Horror Story is back! Who else is tuning in for ‘Freakshow’ this season? This article about all of the seasons and storylines linking together is quite interesting.

02) It’s a week until my book club meeting and I haven’t even started the assigned book… I’ve been in such a reading rut lately, and not even because I’m not enjoying the book that I’m reading. I need to make a HUGE effort to get on board with my reading effort this week. Wish me luck.

03) Did you know you can get a Demeter perfume that smells like paperback books? I want this.

04) It’s been confirmed. Twin Peaks is coming back. I am SO excited for this, guys. So excited.

05) It’s also been confirmed that Ghostbusters is returning – with an all-female lead cast. I always get nervous when my favourite movies are re-booted (Indiana Jones, anyone?), but I have high hopes for this all the same. Keeping my fingers crossed that Anna Kendrick pops up on the cast list. Oh, and Mindy Kaling please.

06) Taylor covered Vance Joy’s ‘Riptide’ on BBC Radio, and it was perfect. Speaking of Taylor, her new album comes out this month! I am so keen for this. She’s also releasing a song from 1989 in a couple of days and I can’t wait.

07) Lauren Conrad posted her fall reading list and some of the books look quite interesting. I’m dying to read Lena’s book in particular, I’ll have to pick it up sometime soon.

08) Speaking of Lauren, I’d love to copy her idea to have this song played at a wedding. It’s so lovely.

09) This slow-motion action shot of a magpie attacking is pretty awesome. If you’ve ever been swooped by a magpie you know how SCARY it can be.

10) FINALLY Perth gets some weird-ass cloud action.

October 9th, 2014

October Goals

Alright, lets see how I went with my September Goals

– Organize a present for my BFF’s 30th birthday
– Sort out/upgrade my health insurance coverage
– Go to the Perth Royal Show
– Catch up on the 50 Book Challenge
– Start cleaning out the walk in wardrobe
– Get my health issues under control

Not a great effort from me in September, but hopefully this month will be a bit better. I seemed to check all of the ‘fun’ things off of the list, but nothing that took a lot of effort on my part. I still haven’t upgraded my health insurance. I’m definitely planning to get that done this month. As for the walk in wardrobe, we weren’t home enough for me to have time to do this, but hopefully I will soon. My health is a work in progress, and my motivation to complete the 50 Book Challenge has become ridiculously bad. Now for this month’s goals -

– Sort out/upgrade my health insurance coverage
– Start Cleaning out the walk in wardrobe
– Get my health issues under control
– Host a Book Club meeting
– Plan (and celebrate) our one year anniversary
– Start planning my birthday celebrations for next month
– Start early Christmas planning

What is on your list of goals for the month?

October 8th, 2014

Product Review: Burt’s Bees Radiance Eye Cream

Lately I’ve noticed little crows feet becoming more prominent on the areas around my eyes, and although it’s not stressing me out just yet, it has motivated me to start paying more attention to the products I use around my eyes. For years I’ve been on the fence about whether I thought eye creams actually did anything, and I guess over the next few years I’ll start to see if all the anti-wrinkle stuff makes any real difference. In the meantime, I’ll stick to making sure my eye area is nicely hydrated and won’t stress too much about any little lines that may pop up (especially if they’re laugh lines – I can’t be too mad about those). I’ve been using the Burt’s Bees Radiance Eye Cream for a few weeks now, and I love how it feels on my skin. It’s made with Royal Jelly (Royal Jelly is made by worker bees and fed to the queen in her first days of life to ensure her growth and fertility and is one of the reasons the Queen Bee lives 40 times longer and 50 times as big), and claims to enhance skin texture, reduce dryness and dullness, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. I know from my use so far that it does reduce dryness and dullness, and the skin under my eyes is smooth and moisturized after use. Time will tell with the wrinkles. The Burts Bee’s Radiance Eye Cream retails for $39.99 AUD and is available for purchase from Priceline (note: product was sent for consideration for review).
October 7th, 2014

September Favourites

It’s been a long time since I featured a monthly favourites post on The Belle Lumiere, but there have been so many products I’ve been loving lately that I thought it was the perfect time to bring ‘favourites’ back (cue a Justin Timberlake song in everyone’s head… YOU’RE WELCOME). And now, without further ado, here are my favourite beauty products from the month of September -

Clear Intense Hydration Shampoo & Conditioner – I first heard of ‘Clear’ products back when Miranda Kerr was announced as the face (hair?) of the brand, but hadn’t gotten around to trying anything from their range until quite recently. This has become one of my all-time favourite shampoo and conditioner duos, they work perfectly on my fine (dry) hair.

Chanel ‘Chance’ Perfume – I received this as a gift in late September, started wearing it immediately and have worn it everyday since. This is such a lovely scent, fresh and light and perfectly summery – I’ve had a few compliments already while I’ve been wearing it. I’m so glad I own this perfume again, because it’s one of my all-time favourites.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in ‘Tipsy’ – You’re all probably sick of hearing me rave about this blush by now, but it really is quite wonderful. I wrote up a full review of the blush last week, which you can check out here if you’re interested. Basically this is the blush you want if you’re in need of something to ‘brighten’ your face. Even my doctor made a comment about my face looking much fresher when I went to see her recently. I owe it all to this blush.

Burts Bees Radiance Eye Cream – I recently ran out of the Avene eye cream that I was using (after picking it up on a whim at Priceline), and this lovely replacement arrived on my doorstep right before I was set to go and purchase something new. Great timing. I only have a couple of requirements when it comes to eye cream – light to medium weight, moisturising without being too heavy, and easy to use packaging. This ticks all of those boxes and more.

October 4th, 2014

Thoughts of the week…

01) I’m a bit of a fashion-stalker of Jen from JenLovesKev, so when she posted about living intentionally in regards to her wardrobe, I was instantly inspired. I’ll be doing something similar for spring/summer this year (when I finally get my butt into gear).

02) Is anyone else really excited for the Gone Girl movie? One of my co-workers told me that they’ve switched the ending up a little bit, which makes it all the more exciting. I can’t wait to see how they work the twists, and if the movie’s ending brings a different sort of resolution. Also apparently there is full-frontal male nudity, which will be… interesting. Oh, and Trent Reznor worked on the soundtrack, which has made the film about 100 times more interesting for me.

03) I caved and ordered myself an Erin Condren life planner. I spent most of Monday this week trawling through the #erincondren and #planneraddicts hashtags on Instagram and simply couldn’t resist. I’m so weak. Oh, I also ordered about $500 worth of cute stickers from Etsy. Sigh.

04) Speaking of planners, if you already have a Lilly Pulitzer day planner and want to make it more like the Erin Condren range, these printables from Etsy are a good way of switching things up. They’re also a great way of figuring out whether you’d prefer the Erin Condren style, as I have since discovered for myself.

05) Now, I’m not sure how much it would help with my fear of flying, but travelling in Singapore Airlines Suites Class sure would be a treat.

06) This article on Mormon Housewife Bloggers is very interesting.

07) Selena Gomez is the latest celebrity to do the an Into The Gloss interview. I’ve been put off Selena lately (thanks to her on again off again relationship with Justin Bieber), and unfortunately this interview doesn’t do much to bring me back towards liking her. Not that she says anything horrible in the interview, it’s all just a bit meh.

08) Guys, The Mindy Project paper dolls.

09) Keen for 25% off of J Crew? Use code SHOPNOW and go nuts!

10) Reese Witherspoon is the latest celebrity to do the Vogue 73 questions interview. I’m obsessed with her outfit, and her house.