November 20th, 2014

50 Book Challenge (part 9)

All The Summer Girls by Meg Donohue (5/10) – I downloaded this book a LONG time ago, but never got around to listening to it because ‘Under The Dome’ was taking me forever to work through (I’m still not finished), and put me off listening to audiobooks for a while. When I was back in the swing of listening, I decided to give this ago and was pleasantly surprised. This is the kind of book I’d classify as a ‘beach read’. It’s easy. Nothing too hard to digest, and exactly what I was in the mood for. Having said that, it did make me long for a summer holiday in a beach house, which I won’t be experiencing anytime soon. Sigh.

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks (8/10) – I’m not big on chick lit. I’ve never been a fan of rom-coms, so guess what? I’ve never seen the Notebook, and I’m ok with that. For some reason a little while ago I watched ‘Safe Haven’ (lets blame Zac Efron’s biceps), and it wasn’t that bad. Because of that, when I was browsing my local library recently I decided to pick up the first Nicholas Sparks book that I’ve ever read. And I did not hate it. In fact, I really enjoyed it. I looked forward to the moment every day where I would pick this book up and read it. I was pleasantly surprised, and I’ll definitely be checking out more of his work in the future.

The Returned by Jason Mott (4/10) – Sebastian and I started watching Resurrection when it first aired, but lost interest after the first couple of episodes. Nevertheless, I’d had the book that the show was based on sitting on my shelf for far too long and I was determined to finally read it. I suggested it at book club, because I felt like there would be many themes and issues that we’d be able to discuss after reading the book. There were. However, did any of us actually like the book? No. I won’t go into too much detail about what happens at the end of the story, but I will say that none of us were left satisfied by the ending of this book.

The Shining by Stephen King (4/10) – I struggled with this one. For some reason I was really in the mood to read it, but once I started I just couldn’t be bothered with it. I persevered though, and managed to finish it off over the course of a few months. I was surprised at how difficult it was for me to get into the story, as Stephen King books are usually real page-turners for me. This has been my least favourite of King’s works that I’ve read so far, and it differs so much from the movie which surprised me. I sort of wish I’d read the book prior to seeing the film, but I watched it for the first time many years ago so OH WELL.

November 19th, 2014

November Fitness Chat

Despite us having a week off last week (read: a week where we went out for dinner every single night and made zero effort to workout), I feel like we’re still on track with our health and fitness goals at the moment. For the most part at least. At the core of it we’re both feeling motivated, although translating that to some kind of regular life practice is the hard part. I don’t think I did too badly with my October goals, so let’s see how I went -

October Goals
Although we did make good progress with the month’s worth of workouts, it was a trial-and-error experience for me, and I’ll be changing up my method slightly when moving forward. We’re now in a place where we prefer to workout together, so the few yoga workouts that I’d included on the sheet did not get done. We’ve started strength training after our run, although this is hard because I’m not used to coming up with ideas for male muscle groups. I definitely need to do a bit more research here. Add to that the fact that Sebastian has a leg issue that needs operating on next month, and my regular ‘do 5 million squats!’ method doesn’t work too well. We managed to finish off 8 out of 20 workouts, which isn’t great, but it’s better than we had been doing. We also incorporated a lot of running into our schedule, and made use of the running track near our house – which was another of my goals for the month. So far we’ve stuck to the one takeaway meal for the month, but it’s been easy for us as we’ve been going out for dinner so much recently. So I don’t think that really counts.

November Goals
I plan on sticking to a similar monthly workout method as last month, only this time I won’t be writing down the type of workout that we’ll be doing. Mostly because at the moment we’re doing the same thing over and over again. As soon as we’re in a set routine, I think we’ll mix it up a bit. I also plan on sticking to our ‘one takeaway meal per month’ plan – December will be Sebastian’s choice. I hope it’s something good (I picked fish and chips). I’ve noticed that my water intake has been dropping quite a bit lately, which is not good. I need to bump this back up again. I’m also going to try and switch out my daily morning coffee at work to a green tea. Which is cheaper, and better for me in the log run.

Health & Fitness Goodies
* Bree Loves Beauty mentioned the Pump Up App in a few videos recently, and I decided to check it out. I’ve only just downloaded it, so I’ll let you know what I think of it in more detail in a future post. ** Sebastian is a big fan of Knife Party, so I’ve been listening to their music whenever I’m in his car, and I think some of their songs would be great to workout to. This is my favourite at the moment.

November 18th, 2014

Product Review: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Hustle

I’ve been so loyal to black eyeliner (and perhaps the occasional purple-toned black), that I missed the whole world of beautiful bronze-coloured liners that were available to me. I first saw ‘Hustle’ featured on ViviannaDoesMakeup (either in a blog post or a video), and decided that I needed to own it ASAP. Anna and I both have green eyes and dark brown hair, so I generally trust any makeup item that she recommends (bar foundations, because I never buy those blindly). I decided to take a risk and ordered myself one of these liners as part of a Sephora order earlier in the year. It’s a definite winner. The shade works wonderfully with green eyes and really seems to make them pop. It’s smooth to apply and doesn’t tug at the skin around my eyes, which I’ve found has happened with a few liners I’ve tried in the past. This is a beautiful eyeliner, and I can’t wait to try more shades from the range. The Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencil in ‘Hustle’ retails for $20 USD and is available for purchase from Sephora.
November 17th, 2014

October Favourites

Oh look, another month down and another lot of favourites to share. The hardest product for me to pick is always skincare, mostly because I use the same things over and over again. Having said that, I worked something new into my routine this month, and I’m really liking it. So without further ado, here are my favourites from October -

Tresemme Salon Finish Hairspray – My all-time favourite hairspray is the O&M Queenie, but my ol’ faithful bottle has stopped working (the spray nozzle has become clogged with product, and it now either doesn’t spray at all OR sprays out half because I can’t make it stop), so I’ve moved on to something new. My hair is notoriously difficult to work with, curls tend to drop about an hour after I’ve styled my hair, but this hairspray works just as well as Queenie at holding a style for the entire day.

Nivea Moisturising Fluid SPF 15 – I tend to go through a bottle of facial sunscreen once a year, which works out well because you shouldn’t really keep sunscreen for much longer than that anyway. I wanted a cheaper alternative to the La Roche Posay sunscreen I’d been wearing for the past couple of years, and this one is working well for me. It doesn’t leave too much of a white cast on my skin (although to be honest, it’s hard to tell #palefaceproblems), and isn’t overly greasy.

Dove Go Fresh Deodorant in Pomegranate and Lemon Verbena – I never thought I’d be the kind of person to ration my use of a deodorant, but here we are. I placed an order with Catch of the Day recently (I buy a lot of household cleaning items in bulk from there once a year), and picked up a couple of bottles of this deodorant because I couldn’t remember seeing this scent anywhere. Guys, this smells amazing. I love it even more than the nectarine/ginger scent (which also seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth), which has been my favourite deodorant for a year or so now. If anyone sees this scent available for purchase anywhere in Australia, please let me know!

MAC Eyeshadow in ‘all that glitters’ – Remember this bad boy? This is an ooooold favourite of mine that I dug back out of my collection when I was hunting for a bronze-gold eyeshadow similar to the one Laurel wears on ‘How To Get Away With Murder’. This isn’t even close to what she wears, but I’m loving it all the same.

November 15th, 2014

Thoughts of the week…

01) Krispy Kreme is opening a store in Perth at the end of the month. I wonder if the opening will cause as much chaos as it did in Adelaide? I hope not.

02) My weekly blog obsession is Girl With Curves. Tanesha is STUNNING. Stunning.

03) Speaking of girls with curves, Kim Kardashian sure did ‘break the internet’ this week. The images and gifs of Buzzfeed staff trying to replicate the champagne/glass image is one of the best things I saw online this week.

04) For my birthday Sebastian had an amazing watercolour portrait of Ben painted for me. Honestly, I can’t rave about Dimdi’s art enough. This is absolutely beautiful.

05) Box of Lies with Channing Tatum

06) What Thoughts Of The Week post would be complete without some Taylor Swift news? I read this interview with her during the week, and she came across incredibly intelligent and grounded. Yep, I adore her.

07) Speaking of Taylor… Bake It Off, with Jamie Oliver.

08) And speaking of Jamie, I finally had a chance to visit his Perth restaurant last night. And the food was amazing. Definitely worth checking out.

09) It’s a bit cheesy, but I actually really like Selena Gomez’s new song. I, like many others, seem to appreciate her way more when she’s not tied to that d-bag Justin Beiber.

10) Lucca the war veteran.

November 13th, 2014

November Goals

November already! Sheesh! Lets see how I did with my October 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

Not too bad, all up. And YES I STILL HAVEN’T SORTED OUT MY HEALTH INSURANCE UPGRADE. This is fast becoming the absolute bane of my existence. I really need to get it sorted out though, because I’m now over a specific age bracket when it comes to tax/health insurance cover etc. See how boring this is? Ugh. I checked everything else off of the list though, and even started working on sorting out the walk in wardrobe. Progress. November is a mix of birthday madness and Christmas build up, and I L-O-V-E it. Time for some November goals –

– sort out/upgrade my health insurance coverage (lol)
– get rid of some of the cat stuff that pepsi never uses (we’ll try and donate this to a shelter)
– clear out the boxes near the kitchen
– sort out/renew my building insurance
– have the front verge landscaped
– finalise christmas plans
– put up the christmas tree!

What are some of your goals for this month?

November 12th, 2014

Holiday Snapshots

This weekend past we went on a little day trip to Rottnest Island, an island just off the coast of Perth. It was my nieces birthday last week and was spending the weekend in Rottnest, so we decided to pay a visit. It was a lovely day, I hadn’t been to Rottnest since leavers (ugh), which was a looong time ago. I have a new-found admiration for Rottnest now, it’s a truly beautiful place.

November 11th, 2014

October Empties / Project 50 Pan (part 1)

What better way to stop spending money on beauty products than to set myself a challenge NOT TO? Embarking on a Project Pan has always helped me in the past when I’ve wanted to curb my spending habits a bit or try to use up what I already have in my bathroom cupboards, and I’m hoping that it’ll help me again now that I’m trying to save money for our US trip. I’ll be following the same rules as my previous challenges (the only repurchases allowed are when I’ve used up everything I own of one particular item eg: shampoo), and will be checking in every month to let you all know how I’m going. Here is the first batch of empties -

01) Head & Shoulders Shampoo in Apple Fresh – This is Sebastian’s shampoo of choice, but I also use it once a week or so to help keep my hair in good condition. I don’t have dandruff, but I do find that this does a really good job of clarifying my hair. Also it smells really good.

02) Paula’s Choice Hydralight Moisturiser – I’ve been a recurring purchaser of this moisturiser for a couple of years now. I still really love it, but I do feel like my skin might be adapting to my current routine, so I’ve decided to work some Dermalogica back into the mix to see how I go. I think I have one or two of these floating around in my cupboard though, so no doubt I’ll return to it again soon.

03) Lush BIG Shampoo – This is another staple in my beauty cupboard, and I repurchased it as soon as this tub ran out. I use this once a week (usually on the weekend) to deep clean my hair and get rid of the product build up that has accrued over the course of the week. This is another must-repurchase if I run out during the project, but it’s unlikely as these little tubs seem to last forever.

04) Lush Sympathy For The Skin Lotion – I miss this lotion. I finished this up a little while ago, but hadn’t gotten around to tossing the container. I don’t think I’ll be buying a replacement of this anytime soon, purely because I’ve found a much cheaper option in the Jergen’s fragrance free daily moisturiser. I do still really love it though. And I kind of miss it. But NO I will not talk myself into buying another tub, lets move on.

November 8th, 2014

Thoughts of the week…

01) If you have a chance to see both Gone Girl and Interstellar – DO IT. They’re both incredible films, and I’m so glad we saw both of them on the big screen. I couldn’t stop thinking about Interstellar for a few days afterwards. A sure sign of a truly wonderful film.

02) As I’m sure you’ve all assumed, I’ve had the new Taylor Swift album on repeat since it was released last month. My favourite songs have changed with every listen (currently it’s ‘Wonderland’, which is bizarre because I hated it at first), and I feel like it’s a real ‘grower’ of an album. I love it.

03) Speaking of Taylor, how well can you decode her songs through Emoji? I got 8/10. Heh.

04) We’ve been watching ‘How To Get Away With Murder’ quite a bit lately, and I’m obsessed with Laurel’s hair and makeup. Perfection in every episode.

05) Jake Gyllenhaal & Jimmy Fallon’s Water War

06) Haus of Gloi released their Yule collection at the beginning of the month, and of course ‘Sweet Potato Treat‘ is BACK and has already sold out. Sigh.

07) I saw ChelseaWears tweet about ‘Serial’, and I couldn’t quite figure out what she was talking about. She was talking about this podcast, and I am officially obsessed with it. If you’re into true-crime detective stories, definitely check this series out, it’s fascinating.

08) Daniel Radcliffe can rap. Who knew?

09) Paolo Nutini released Australian tour dates. Is Perth on the list? No. Kill me.

10) Too Many Cooks. Presented without comment.

October 30th, 2014

October Finance Chat

I’ve had a few requests to write some more posts about money, budgeting, and how I sort out my personal finances. I thought about it a little bit and decided that the easiest way for me to do this is to include a monthly ‘finance chat’, where I’ll give a general overview of where I’m at with my finances and what my goals for the following month are. I recently wrote up a savings plan for our trip the US next year, and it was a bit of an eye-opener for us. We are not the most careful people when it comes to spending money, but it was a wake up call that we need to start taking better care and stop being so frivolous when it comes to our finances.

November Goals
My goals for this month are mostly to assist me in working towards bulking up my travel savings fund. I have a specific savings account set up that accrues more interest than a regular account, and you’re charged for taking money out of the account. Works for me. My first goal is to NOT dip into my travel savings account for money to use elsewhere. This is to be for travel only, and the total should not go down at any point. I also want to try and cut down our weekly grocery shop (excluding fresh fruit and vegetables) to below $100. Currently we fluctuate anywhere between $150-$250 a week, which is just ridiculous. We can definitely do better in this regard. I’ve also implemented a ‘noodle night’ once a week, where we eat something out of the pantry that otherwise wouldn’t be set aside for dinner (ie: noodles). This is an easy way to save money, and also helps us work through the food in the pantry that can sometimes get overlooked and sit there for months on end.

I’ll be sure to check in again at the end of November and let you all know how I’m doing. I’d love to hear any of your goals for the month, and if you decide to include something similar on your blog please let me know!