Scented spaces

summer

The lovely Jessica tweeted a few months back that when she wore her Byredo Gypsy Water perfume, her partner said it reminded him of Bali. There’s something to be said for the smell of something transporting you back to a place and time – all it takes is the barest whiff of the Body Shop’s dewberry or vanilla oils and suddenly I’m 17 again. Or the smell of Stella McCartney’s rosy Stella and I remember the terribly depressing time I had in early 2005. Gucci Rush is every good night out I’ve had in nearly 20 years and continues to be my signature scent and go-to party perfume.

For that reason I love picking something from my perfume stash to use whenever I go on a trip. It has to be something relatively untried that has no lingering attachments already. It also helps if it suits the area and climate I’m going to, meaning no heavy woods in Asia or tropical scents in a European winter. Then when I come home I have a scented memory of time away exploring new cities and seeing great things.

It got me thinking about the places I have been and the perfumes I’ve used…

New York 2011 – Comme des Garcons Wonderwood and Kate Walsh EDP (the latter I bought in NYC) / Japan 2012 – Kenzo 7.15am in Bali / Thailand 2012 – Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess / New Zealand 2013 – Fresh Cannabis Santal / Italy 2013 – Pacifica Lemon Blossom / Hawaii 2014 – Estee Lauder Sensuous Nude and Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black (the latter I bought there) / Greece/Spain/Portugal 2014 – Firebird Fig + Honey perfume oil / Bali 2015 – Kenzo 7.15am in Bali (how could I not?!) / where to next…

Scented spaces

USA 2015 – Travel planning part 3.

USA plans

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – or so a Chinese philosopher once said. For me I’d already taken the first step and organised my time off, then a second and bought my ticket, then even a couple more beyond that. The step I seemed paralysed on was actually opening up a map and deciding where exactly I wanted to go.

I’ve been putting this off for weeks now because it seemed like such an enormous task. And it is, but with only four months to go before I leave I could feel every hour ticking past as an hour I hadn’t bothered to start my plans. So this past week I did and I learned quite a few things.

Firstly, you think two-and-a-half months travelling somewhere gives you an immense amount of time and you’ll be able to see and do everything you want at an incredibly leisured and relaxed pace. Wrong. When I wrote down the 48 cities I wanted to visit and realised I only had 78 days to see them in, I knew something would have to give. My idea of a holiday isn’t staying one night in every place then having to move on. I’ll get tired and cranky before a fortnight away is out. For the record, this is my original wish list of destinations:

Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Monterey/Carmel, San Francisco, Napa Valley, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Yellowstone National Park, Mount Rushmore/Rapid City, Kansas City, St Louis, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Portland, Boston, Cape Cod/Nantucket, New York, Montauk/the Hamptons, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlotte, Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, Orlando, Miami, Havana, Tulum, Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, Jackson, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Houston, Austin, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Denver, Alberquerque, Grand Canyon/Phoenix, Las Vegas, Cabo San Lucas, San Diego, Palm Springs, Los Angeles.

My usual plan with trips is to write down every single day I’m going to be away and then allocate a place to them eg. 1 October – Chicago, 2 October – leave Chicago for Toronto, 3 October – Toronto, etc. That way I know where I’m going to be for every single day and which days I’m travelling on. I did a version of this starting on 23 September and running through to 10 December and it was hard work. Also while I fit in every city bar one, there were a lot of days where I would arrive in a city on one day and leave the next. Again, that’s just a recipe for ending up exhausted and angry very quickly. I knew I needed to re-think things and make a better assessment of what was important to me on this trip.

I started by noting my ‘second tier’ cities – these are the ones I could live without seeing. By removing them I could allow for those days and travel days to be spent sight seeing in the places I wanted to visit the most. Of the destinations listed above, 14 are second tier and I’m going to re-jig my plans and see how things look without them. I also made a spreadsheet on the premise I use above (listing the location next to the day) and printed a few blank copies above because I find it easier to understand when I have it in hard copy. I’m expecting to make more than a few revisions so having a couple of spare sheets on hand is good. My original map plan is in the image above so I’m interested to see how different the final version looks.

Initially when I dreamed up this trip I thought it would be more casual and relaxed with less planning in terms of being in specific locations at specific times. I’d just jump in a car and wander. Now I’ve realised that because there’s so much I want to do, I’m going to have to be more rigid to get it all in. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though.

So far I’ve done the following planning for my trip:

  • Organised my long service leave
  • Bought my return flight
  • Bought my travel insurance
  • Developed a preliminary itinerary

The idea of it being just four months away makes me squirm.

USA 2015 – Travel planning part 3.

The fifteen – favourite cities

travel the world

I thought this list would write itself and to be honest, it didn’t. I could have added 10 more cities to it, all places I’ve loved and had an amazing time in. I’ll also point out that these aren’t ranked (apart from number one) because that would add an extra layer of headache to this post.

Also, I didn’t add Melbourne because I live here but please, take it as a given.

1. London – BEST. CITY. IN. THE. WORLD. I love everything about London and even after three visits there’s always more to see and do. I love visiting my old favourites (National Gallery, Greenwich) or checking out new things, and the shopping is outstanding. I adore the history of the city and the fact you walk past these incredible buildings that were constructed hundreds of years before they ever even came to look for our country. Honestly, there’s nothing I don’t love about it.

2. New York – One of the easiest cities in the world to explore because everything is laid out so perfectly on the grid pattern and it’s infinitely walkable. If you want it, New York has it – great shops, fantastic museums, amazing food. A city full of possibilities.

3. Kyoto – Just edges out Tokyo as my favourite city in Japan thanks to it’s beautiful architecture and incredible temples. Kyoto is lovely and calm compares to the capital’s energetic chaos and it’s also home to one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my life – the bamboo forest in Arashiyama.

4. Lisbon – How can you not love a city filled with bakeries that stay open until the wee hours on a Sunday night serving the best custard tarts of your life? Sweet treats aside, Lisbon is a brilliant city. It’s gorgeous to look at, there’s plenty to see and do, and the old cobblestone streets and pastel buildings give it a charming appearance. Plus the people are beyond friendly.

5. Barcelona – Probably the most fun city in the world. There’s always something happening and the atmosphere of the city is just complete joy. You can’t go here and not have a great time. The tapas, museums and the brilliant La Sagrada Familia are enough to rock your world.

6. Canberra – I adore Canberra and reckon it’s one of our most underrated cities. Admittedly I called it home for eight years so I have something of an emotional attachment to it, however it has some of the country’s best museums, there’s fantastic shopping and it’s a city that loves its sport. Can’t go wrong.

7. Honolulu – Hawaii is one of my favourite places I’ve ever visited and Honolulu is a big part of that. Sure, it’s touristy and the areas away from Waikiki are decidedly questionable, but that patch of beach is magnificent. If you want somewhere to go that manages to be both fun and relaxing, this is it.

8. Bangkok – Lots of people seem to visit Thailand and never go to Bangkok. I’m not sure why because it’s this great big, interesting city full of crazed activity. The food is incredible, the public transport is amazing and the Thai people are some of the friendliest citizens in the world. Oh and the shopping is pretty amazing too.

9. Paris – The first time I went to Paris I thought it was underwhelming. Where was the magical city I was expecting? Last year I went again and I absolutely loved it. I planned out a day and visited all the museums and sights I could handle, and let’s be honest Paris does both pretty well. Paris has a unique charm that’s not replicated in any other city.

10. Sydney – The most beautiful city in the world. Expensive and the traffic is hideous but those views are priceless. I just love the feeling when I’m in Sydney – it feels like I’m back with my (NSW) people. While I don’t have any plans to leave Melbourne just yet, I know I’ll probably regret never living in Sydney as an adult.

11. Edinburgh – If you’re in the UK and keen to escape from London then I highly recommend Edinburgh. A gorgeous fairytale city with a castle looming over the town, it’s the perfect place to spend hours wandering though. The people are brilliant as well.

12. Madrid – Barcelona’s counterpoint – Madrid is cool and refined and elegant. One of the most aesthetically pleasing cities in the world, it has all the same things that make other Spanish cities great like amazing food and wonderful people. Also if you love art, this is one of the best cities in the world to visit.

13. Venice – Venice is like a city out of a dream. It is, without a doubt, the most fantastical place I’ve ever been and until you see it with your own eyes (and even then) it’s hard to believe. It’s amazing and mysterious and frustrating and wonderful, all at once. It also has incredible landmarks, awesome markets and good Italian food.

14. Athens – Easy to find your way around, packed with history, great people and some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. Don’t let it’s dusty, run down exterior scare you off because Athens is a cracker.

15. Adelaide – Every time I’ve been to Adelaide I’ve had a brilliant time and my last visit was no exception. I think it’s another underrated gem, a beautiful city perfect for a weekend getaway.

The fifteen – favourite cities

Textured

garnier fructis full and luscious  texturising spray

To be honest, I haven’t done too badly in the hair department. While I don’t have wash-and-wear hair, it only takes me 10 minutes to straighten or curl it with a GHD and I’m set. Once it’s done it tends to stay done and because I look after it with treatments and oils and a multitude of other products, it always looks shiny and healthy.

The one thing I didn’t get was thick hair. Luckily I have a lot of hair so it’s not wispy, however I’ll never be someone with a gorgeous head of Kardashian style locks. A bun is fairly sad on me too. Now that my hair is above my shoulders I prefer to wear it a bit choppy and messy and salt or texturising sprays make a huge difference. My favourite is the David Babaii Bohemian Beach Spray but my bottle is slowly dwindling and I’m always on the lookout for a cheaper alternative.

Cue the Garnier Fructis Full and Luscious Texturising Spray. I find this is a similar feel in the hair to say, a clear dry shampoo. I don’t get huge, voluminous hair from this sadly and it doesn’t give a traditional ‘textured’ finish, but it does add a bit of weight and doesn’t tend to get clumpy. I do find you need to use a fair bit as it’s quite light on, though that may suit people who don’t need a truckload of product. Overall this is a decent, every day spray for adding a small amount of texture to give your hair movement or just assist with giving it grip for up-dos. While it’s not my all time favourite, a bottle will only set you back around $5 so it’s well worth a try.

Textured

Things I bought #18.

42 Topshop

Overtime and blogs. That’s where my purchases this week have come from. I worked a heap of paid overtime last weekend which leads to all kinds of treat yo self thoughts… and a subsequent sitting at home late at night on the internet and oops I’ve just bought something episode. No regrets.

43 Topshop Ghillie Pointed Flats in Black $120 – I can’t think where I saw these that led to my purchase on Monday night but I was a bit excited to find them. I saw a pair of Michael Kors in a similar style that were about five times the price (and therefore out of my range) that I really wanted but couldn’t justify. I’ve been trying to find a fancier black flat as I wear my J.Crew pair almost constantly and I wanted to mix it up. Unfortunately the black leather version is sold out now but there’s a snakeskin version still available.

44 Cos Ribbon Covered Necklace in Black $65 – Every time I see Emily wear this necklace on her blog Cupcakes and Cashmere I want it. Melbourne now has a Cos store so every time I’ve been in the area I’ve popped in but to no avail. Finally on Wednesday it was there and I got it in my hot little hands. I’m excited to wear this with my winter dresses.

18 what I bought make up

On the skin care and make up (and hair care) front it was a bit of a train wreck. The Priceline 40 per cent off hair care sale got me first and I picked up the Dove hair oil, Batiste brunette dry shampoo and the Olia hair colour. Then Chemist Warehouse took 50 per cent off make up so I grabbed the Revlon items and the Maybelline glosses – side note, those glosses sadly never came out in Australia and they are fantastic. These were a massive $2.50 each on sale and I’m rapt to have found them. Finally I have had my eye on the Thierry Mugler Angel fragrance in the Cuir (leather) version for a while an StrawberryNet dropped it to a decent price, plus I grabbed the Orofluido to make shipping free. A big week in my house for products.

Things I bought #18.

Thoughts of the week – 17/5

boat

1. Today I went with a friend to see the new WWI Centenary exhibition at the Melbourne Museum and it was fantastic. I’ll do a full post on it I think but I highly recommend it.

2. Also, brilliant autumn day today in the city. Absolute perfection.

3. I’ve been to six Chemist Warehouses to get the new Revlon eye shadow with glitter that I want and the only shade I’m after has been sold out everywhere. So frustrating #firstworldproblems

4. Totally excited for Pitch Perfect 2.

5. I went to Country Road for their 25 per cent off sale but nothing excited me. Money probably better left in my wallet anyway.

6. I tasted the new Vegemite chocolate and it’s hideous. How does that shit get past the testing stage?

7. Alice Clement is all kinds of awesome.

8. Despite having lived in a city for half of my life now, I’ve come to accept I will always be a country mouse at heart.

9. One thing I won’t be watching is the Ivan Milat mini series. Fact: my dad was involved in the search for bodies in Belanglo State Forest in the 90s and reckons it is one of the creepiest things he’s ever done. I still shiver when I drive past it on my way from Goulburn to Sydney.

10. Disappointed to hear of Kane Cornes’ retirement through the week. He’s been an absolute champion for our club and the AFL and we will miss him so very much at Port Adelaide.

Thoughts of the week – 17/5

Rosy cheeked

stila rose convertible color

stila rose convertible color 2

stila rose convertible color swatch

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thoughtful looking through my make up collection, both to tidy it up and try and pull out some things that don’t get the love they should. One of the things I’ve rediscovered is my Stila Convertible Color in Rose, a dark berry colour that never seems quite right in the warmer months but is perfect as we head into winter.

I like Stila and find most of their products are great quality, and this is no exceptions. It’s quite a dense, pigmented cream but it’s still easy to dab on to your cheeks with your fingers and blend. I’m not a big brush user with cream products but I find a stippling brush tends to be ideal for this and gives a really even finish. Despite looking fairly dark in the pot I find Rose sheers out beautifully on the skin and lasts for around six or so hours. The overall look is a bit like you’ve been out walking in the cold and come back with ruddy cheeks.

I tend to use the Convertible Color as a blush but you can also use it on your lips, making this pretty handy to carry around for quick touch ups. I got this one in the US a few years ago however you can buy Stila in Australia at Mecca (these will set you back $34) or online via BeautyBay (where they are $26).

Rosy cheeked