Liquid Molten Saturday, Nov 27 2010 

In the bustling little suburb of Mt Eden, Auckland (New Zealand) is a restaurant/bar that has captured both my fancy, and my wallet. This great little place is called Liquid Molten.

On one side, you will find Molten – a higher end dining experience where the food is matched only by the superb service and wine selection. On the other, is Liquid – my home away from home. A classy little bar that opens up at the back to a private courtyard that boasts not only ambiance and style, but funky music and blankets for those cooler nights.

Open until late, this hidden refuge is where my friends and I go for coffee, wine, dessert and a good old gossip. The staff are fantastic, the coffee strong and the food divine – need I say more? I spend at least two or three nights there every week, either leisurely sipping coffee with girlfriends or stopping in for a quick drink before heading elsewhere.

So, my recommendation if you are looking for a quiet, classy coffee spot in central Auckland? Go to Liquid, it will be worth your while.

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Single White Female in 2010 Saturday, Nov 13 2010 

At 24, I am learning for the first time about being single and independent. I was one of those girls that met a nice guy when I was still in High School, and managed to stay with him for over five years before coming to the abrupt realisation that not only had I changed completely, but what I wanted in life had too. So after much soul searching, I decided to fly solo.

Now, there are plenty of single girls like me out there, right? Well, not in my life. Basically, all of my girlfriends are gorgeous, funny, successful and sexy biatches – hence they were snapped up quickly by their smart thinking boyfriends. So being single is as much a mind-boggle to them as it has been for me. They have been wonderful (I have played the happy third wheel on many, many occasion), but at the end of the day, I don’t have anyone to go home to. I don’t have that person to cuddle with on the couch whilst watching some inane soppy movie, or to argue with. (“I want you to WANT to do it!”.)

And you know what?

I bloody love it. Don’t get me wrong, I am a woman, so I have certain white-knight type fantasies. (Lets face it – It’s in my DNA) I watch Katherine Heigl movies and get lost in the romance, see old people holding hands on the street and utter a soft “Awww!”. But at the same time, I am 100% enjoying getting to know ME.

Instead of basing my life around someone else, I have been able to do the things for myself I never would have done before. Meet new friends and put in the needed effort to make them integral parts of my life, try new cafes every week, stay up late watching reruns of Will & Grace, hell – even dye my hair pink! Suddenly a whole world was open to me, where the only person who’s permission or judgement meant anything was my own. (I tend to shut out my Mothers voice during these times.)

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying being single is better. I am merely saying that for ME, it has given me the opportunity to figure out who I am (Queue the cheesiness!). To find out what I really do and don’t like. To develop independence in everything I do, think and feel. My friendships have flourished, I have become happier, and my wardrobe is MUCH better now that I don’t have a guy telling me I should be budgeting. (Although my best guy friend has taken it upon himself to take on THAT particular role.) 😉

Now, I consider myself single, but that doesn’t mean I live in a Nunnery. And that’s the other great thing about not being tied down to one person – experimenting with dating different men and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. (I sound like a kid in a candy shop here, don’t I? Hmm..) But seriously – dating has been fun. I have been lucky, and not met any freaks or psychos, and taken something from each tryst. And I will continue to do this, until I either meet “The One”, or give up entirely and go live with my four cats and gay best friend (though sadly has more luck with men than I).

So my lesson for 2010 is: being single is wonderful, and a great love story all of its very own. Me, myself and I.

Dermal Clay Cleanser by Dermalogica Sunday, Oct 31 2010 

Years ago, one of my good friends turned me on to Dermalogica and their brilliant range of products. At first, I hesitated at their prices (you are looking to spend, on average, about NZD$80.00 per product), but after giving in one day and buying a skin regime I was instantly hooked.

Now, Dermalogica is an American brand that is sold around the world including in some of the best beauty salons and skin clinics. The main focus of all of their lines is getting your skin to be at it’s healthiest, whether that means clearing up adult acne or reducing dry skin. After 25 years of success, and with a lot of scientific proof to back their claims, it stands to reason why they are so popular.

There is one particular product that I fell hard for – the Dermal Clay Cleanser (NZD: $74.00 for a 250ml bottle). Made from water soluble kaolin and green clays, this cooling product feels amazing on and leaves your skin fresh, refined and supple. I use it a couple of times a week when I’m in the shower, and find that if I forget to use it my skin actually looks dull. Using it is luxurious, as the cool menthol feels glorious when you have had a long day/hard night. Leaving it on for five minutes gives you the added benefit of a masque, for those days when your skin has just packed it in.

I would recommend this for anyone with oily or combination skin, and though it isn’t cheap, it lasts for months on end. You only need a small dollop per application, and I find it works well with other brands of skin-care.

Dermal Clay Cleanser by Dermalogica

Recommended Reads For The Modern Gal Monday, Aug 16 2010 

There is absolutely nothing that beats the luxurious experience of reading a good book. A book can offer escapism, knowledge, fantasy and fun. It can save you from a bad mood or monotonous day in one articulately written sentence. It can also give you access to thoughts and ideas that you have never touched on before, and at times things that not only teach you but can make you a better person.

Now, I’m not going to go on to tell you to read Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, or Emily Brontës Wuthering Heights (though both true gems and are classics for a reason!) I am here to recommend a few books that I believe most young women should read – for different reasons.

Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella (NZD$24.99 from Fishpond)

This is a hilarious, fluffy read for the “in-between” girls out there that are no longer teens, but not yet saddled with a mortgage/husband/2.5 kiddies etc. The heroine, the incorrigible Emma Corrigan, is a bubbly, early twenties girl with aspirations of a perfect life. There’s one problem – she tells little white lies to everyone she knows. To her boyfriend (he thinks she is several sizes smaller than she actually is), to her parents (she killed their goldfish, but replaced it before they cottoned on!), to her colleagues (never admits that it’s her that keeps breaking the photocopier) and so on and so forth. This is a fabulously funny book, adorably romantic but also highlights the failings of our society on the up and coming generation. The fact Emma can’t admit the small flaws to herself and the people around her, that she needs to skew things to make herself feel more of a success, is something I see in people every day. This is a good rainy day read, not too heavy, but I think has a good message to it.

Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pick-up Artists by Neil Strauss (NZD$39.99 from Fishpond)

Now, you may be wondering why the hell I would recommend this kind of book to women. Basically, knowledge is power, right ladies?

I heard about this particular book during a conversation with a male friend. He told me about Neil Strauss, a nerdy writer who couldn’t find love and so took it upon himself to meet the Masters of Seduction around the world. This book tells the story of how he became a part of this bizarre secret society, who he met and what he learned. (There are other books by Strauss that are more dating self-help types, but I think this one gives the better picture.)

Basically, this book goes through how a society of men have developed ways to manipulate women into sleeping with them. Ugly, boring, nervous, creepy, skinny, fat, sleazy, shy – no matter what the drawback of the male, these Masters of Seduction were able to show these ill-equipped men how to bed hot ladies that normally wouldn’t notice them. I read this book with utter fascination – was it possible for women to be manipulated this way? Certainly tricks and lines, gestures and clothing couldn’t get us to fall for someone totally not our type – right?! Well, as I read, I got that sinking gut feeling. Though not all of the tricks would work on all of us, there was real merit in what he was saying. I am glad I read this book – purely so I now know what to look out for! Ladies, beware.

The Game by Neil Strauss

He’s just not that into you by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo (NZD$23.99 from Fishpond)

I would be extremely surprised if you haven’t heard of this book already. It was a phenomenon a few years back, even made it onto Oprah! There has also been a movie made about it, and many a female discussion revolving around it’s teachings.

Basically, this book goes on the list because I know too many gals that haven’t read it when they really should have. This is a must read. A dating bible if you will. It’s not heavy, it’s not all about loving ones inner self. It’s a friendly prod to say – Girl, you are great, but if that guy isn’t asking you out? He DOESN’T WANT YOU! A little bit harsh, perhaps. But sometimes we need a bit of a slap in the face. I know too many girls who justify not getting a text from “that guy” for weeks, because maybe he lost his phone, or maybe he’s really busy, or or… You get the point. This book is brilliant. Makes you laugh, makes you cringe with self realisation, makes you open your eyes to the realities of dating. If he doesn’t call you, he doesn’t like you. If he only calls you at 3am for a drunken stopover after town, he just wants to f#%& you. Plain and simple. You’d think we could figure all of this out on our own, but sadly, when you mix emotions in with a woman’s thought processes, everything goes a bit whack. Hence, why all ladies should read this book!

Seriously!

He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

So there you have it… One book that is light and fluffy, one that depicts the inner workings of seriously screwed up men, and one that guides us poor ladies into the dating light (if you will).

Enjoy! More to come…

Tribute To The Best Friends A Girl Could Have Monday, Aug 9 2010 

Throughout life, there is one thing that gets you through the ups and downs. That helps you sift through self-doubt, heartbreak and confusion. That pulls you back up onto your feet when you stumble and just can’t get up by yourself. Friends.

Totally cheeseball, I know. I sound like a wannabe Hallmark card that didn’t quite make the cut – but all that aside, I mean it.

Over the past couple of years, I have been through a gamut of things. The family business burnt down, one of my closest friends passed away, I was hit by a car while riding home on my scooter, I ended a 5+ year relationship – could be worse, but hell, could have been a hell of a lot easier as well. And today? I’m actually a stronger and better person… due to my friends.

My group of friends is a mix. There is my core group of girls, five of us in total, and their respective partners. Then I have other friends, individuals from my High School days, work, or just acquired through circumstance. Every single one of these beloved people have shown my why it’s worth getting up in the morning.

When you have a terrible accident like I did, you expect people to all come running in the first few days, then just as quickly vanish with mumbled well-wishes. Which, in a way, I understand. Just because one persons life has stopped, doesn’t mean everybody else’s has to too. But my experience was quite the opposite. Over the three months of being in Hospital, I was never alone. I constantly had company, support, and lots of treats! I had friends take days off work and sit with me during the tough days, and every single night I had everyone turn up for a group dinner by my bedside. You have no idea how much this meant to someone who felt like their entire life had been snatched away, at least for the foreseeable future.

And, just as importantly, these amazing people have continued to grace me with the kind of friendship I know for a fact most people don’t get to experience in their lifetime. I do not spend one night at home unless I want to. If I have a problem that I cannot fix, help is always offered. My ramblings are always listened to, my hurts understood, my achievements celebrated.

You get what you give in life – and the fact I have such a wonderful “chosen family” makes me feel accomplished in myself. I must be doing something right if I have retained such relationships.

To all of those people – you know who you are – I thank you, and I love you.

*Right, no more drinking for me, I get overly emotional! OVER AND OUT!*

You just can't beat good friends...

Za Za Za – you’ve done it again Sunday, Aug 1 2010 

I have been a Za fan for a while now, since discovering their White Emulsion Range of skin care. But I had never tried any of their concealers – until now.

So, I was strolling through Farmers (as you do) with a friend recently, when I spotted the Za stand. As any decent representation of the female species would, I went to check if there was a) anything new or b) anything on sale. There was a 15% sale, so I just HAD to buy something.

That’s when I tried the Za Concealer Perfection and you know what? Wow. Covered better than I could ever have expected. Went on easily, blended perfectly and left my skin looking like I wasn’t wearing any makeup at all. Now I use it every day as part of my routine, and I have never been more pleased with a concealer. Available in three shades, packaged in a small 9g tube that is easily added to the handbag essentials, this concealer is a brilliant everyday product.

It’s available at selected pharmacies and online, along with Farmers Department stores nationwide (go the beauty card!)

Go. Buy. Enjoy.

Za Concealer Perfection NZD$17.99

Getting older… Thursday, Jul 29 2010 

So – fast approaching is my 24th birthday… Yikes! Oh how the years fly by. It seems like just yesterday I was at High School, getting in trouble for talking too much and dating the wrong kind of boys. Now I’m an adult that talks too much and dates the wrong men. (Perhaps I should remedy a few things after this self realization?!)

It’s been an amazing few years though, I must say. Learning the curve of balancing work, independence, relationships and interests; I have come a long way from the very green girl I was back in my school days. But more enjoyably has been watching those around me flourish in their own lives. Seeing my friends work hard, whether it be through study or work, to end up climbing the ladder of success.

One of my dearest friends recently got engaged (and yes, I’m lucky enough to have been made a bridesmaid!) which has really brought home to me that we are all growing up. People are traveling, getting married, having kids, buying houses. It’s scary and exciting and wonderful. Everyone I went to school with seems to be doing something to be proud of, and thanks to Facebook, I have been able to follow the lives of my old classmates. Of the people I used to get drunk with when we were sixteen year old idiots.

At first I thought growing up, getting older, was a bad thing. Responsibility starts to impede on your life… paying bills, making sure you have insurance, bringing work home so that it’s done for that 8 o’clock meeting the next morning. You start to worry about if you are far enough along in your career, or whether your relationship is going somewhere etc etc. Things stop being all about whimsy and “whatever happens, happens”. It’s like a lightbulb has been turned on, and you’re suddenly thinking about the building blocks to your future. It’s kind of daunting…

But at the same time? Thrilling. Empowering. Exciting. Corny as it is, life is what you make of it. And the power to achieve great things is up to ones self. There are just so many possibilities, so many things to experience that now… I’m kind of looking forward to seeing what happens. Yes, the safety net has been ripped away by the ravages of time, but that’s okay. If I fall, I will get back up and try again.

So here’s to all of the twenty-somethings out there who have been hit by the sudden realization that they are not kids anymore. Let’s face it head on and make our lives good ones!

Young or Old? How do you see yourself?

July Buys Saturday, Jul 10 2010 

So, at the start of this month I thought “Hmm, time to save my pennies!”. I started off strong, until I remembered I live in New Zealand and pennies have nothing to do with our currency. So I shelved that idea and added to my wardrobe! 😉 Or should I say, added a boatload of skinny style jeans with a few other pieces thrown in!

Here are a few of my purchases thus far…

EziBuy Urban Denim Military Vest NZD$49.95

This cute little vest from EziBuy embodies the current soldier-style fashion statement that seems so popular right now, without being too much. Most people either love vests, or hate them, but I think it’s a quirky addition to my collection.

EziBuy Emerge Casette Print Tee Shirt NZD$39.95

Another EziBuy find, this tee is casual, funky and warm. Perfect over jeans and a great length to boot.

EziBuy Urban Stud Detail Skinny Jean NZD$59.95

Aaannnddd… EziBuy brings it home for the team AGAIN! These black skinny jeans are embellished with darkened punk-type studs, and look wicked with a black leather jacket. Just sayin’.

EziBuy Heine Designer Jeans NZD$139.95

Last but certainly not least from my EziBuy shopping spree are these wonderful dark blue skinny jeans. They fit beautifully and have a funky angel wing design on the back, giving it that extra something special.

Pulp Strap-T Boot from Hannahs NZD$149.95

These cute boots are both comfortable and fun! I am a massive fan of studs (can you tell?) and this particular style fits my personality perfectly. They look superb with skinny jeans and being flat, it means I can wear them out and about without worrying about sore feet. You can get Pulp shoes and boots from Hannahs.

Stainless Steel Sun with Gold Plating from The Warehouse NZD$49.99

Yup, who’d have thunk it, but I found a nice pendant at The Warehouse! I just saw it and fell in love, and it is now my every-day piece. A step up from costume jewellery, but still not costing megabucks like some of the designer ranges out there. A happy medium.

Valley Girl Military Cardy NZD$19.99

Cheap and cheerful. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s one of those “looks good on, looks crap off” items that you sometimes stumble across. Great to chuck over a long singlet or tight tee. Found in Valley Girl, of all places.

Glassons Daisy Abraised Indigo Skinny Jeans NZD$59.99

Hmm, so I might have gone a little bit skinny-jean-crazy, but how cute are these! Distressed patches on the front thigh and lower backside add to what would normally be a simple pair of blue jeans. Find them at Glassons.

Max Studded Skinny Jeans NZD$99.00

Skinny jeans? Check. Studs? Check. My final skinny jean purchase of the month are these beauties from Max. They fit like a dream, go well with boots and leather jackets, as well as being dressed up with corporate attire.

So, we aren’t even half way through the month and I am already eying up my bank balance with horror. But… totally worth it! Plus, most of these items I caught on sale which is always a bonus!

Happy shopping sweethearts!

Trilogy Ultra Hydrating Cream Monday, Jun 28 2010 

I work in a lovely office environment, but this also means I spend 40+ hours a week stewing beneath a heavy blanket of machine controlled air that is harshly circulated around me and dries out my skin. The end result? My skin needs some moisture baby!

I have a few good skin products to remedy this, but recently, nothing has quite been cutting it. So one day I was talking to my beautician about said issue, when she mentioned that the wonderful nourishing mask she used on me also doubled as an extremely hydrating facial cream. ZING!

So we got to talking, and she showed me the range she used – Trilogy. This is a New Zealand brand started by two ex-Australian sisters that use fresh, luxurious ingredients including their favorite ingredient, rose-hip oil. Price wise, they are middle of the range (most of their items cost around NZD$40) but the quality of their products are top-notch.

You know when you get a facial and the next day you break out? I have never, EVER broken out after a Trilogy facial. I have sensitive skin that reacts to almost anything, and yet it has positively sung out with happiness after I use their different products. They sell skin regimes for all skin types, to reduce wrinkles, help with acne and for both men and women.

Now, the product I am raving about today (and most of the past week!) is the Trilogy Ultra Hydrating Cream. This seemingly heavy cream goes on and just melts into your skin, leaving your face feeling supple and nourished. There is no shiny-faced monster looking back at you in the mirror, and it works wonderfully as a makeup primer if you are in a rush. My skin has never looked healthier, more even and best of all, there is no dry skin! I put it on before I go to bed and again after I wash my face in the morning. You don’t need a lot, it goes on beautifully and smells wonderful according to all of the people who have commented! My 75ml tube cost me just under NZD$40, and to be perfectly honest – I would have happily paid twice that much. And I certainly don’t say that often!

So, if you are searching for an eco-friendly, wonderful skin care range – try Trilogy. You will not regret it!

Trilogy Ultra Hydrating Cream

Baby Phat Handbags Saturday, May 29 2010 

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I’m a GUESS girl through and through. When it comes to handbags, not much can distract me from the G label. Buuttt… I will admit to deviating from my obsession a few times. For a good quality, stylish but sexy handbag for everyday wear, I am GUESS all the way. But, when I want to funk it up a bit, make my outfits a little bit more playful… I turn to the Baby Phat range of handbags by mogul Kimora Lee Simmons.

The Baby Phat label is not only famous for its handbags, but also for shoes, clothing and accessories. That’s all good and well, but I am most taken with the outrageously over the top bags, not the other stuff!

The handbags are fun and quirky, certainly not demure in any way, shape or form. They range from approximately NZD$100 to around about NZD$500 – but in most cases, you are looking at the former rather than the latter. The bags are more often than not covered in bling, with shiny buckles, accessories and edgy designs. They look great with a simple jeans/boots/t-shirt combo, or to zest up a little black dress. These aren’t the bags for you if you wear a lot of colour or stand-out cuts, as it would just be waaaay too much. For those of you who spend most of your days in fairly simple attire? Baby Phat = WIN!

Have a look at some of the great designs to choose from!

Two Baby Phat Handbags And Matching Wallet

Baby Phat Handbag

Baby Phat Handbag

Baby Phat Handbag

Baby Phat Handbag

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