Friday, 22 February 2013

BOOKWORM: MUST-READ HOLIDAY LIST.



Living in Australia means that you are a long ass way from anywhere else in the world. Thankfully, we've upgraded from boats to planes but it still takes so, so long to get anywhere. I worked out that we roughly did 38 hours of flying on my recent trip to Europe - that doesn't include buses, trains or taxis! The perk of that much flying? There is no guilt in spending hours getting lost in great books. 

I read heaps of great books and I wanted to share them with you guys. Some took me hours, some took days. Hopefully you find at least one that can be your next read P.S - I read all of these on my Kindle, which came in so handy on this trip!

Blog, Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho

I discovered this book purely by chance. I can't even remember how I found it! But let me say, I am so, so glad I did. This book is packed full of useful information about the world of blogging. Joy is a fantastic writer and she doesn't cloak her advice in vague terminology that leaves you scratching your head, wondering what the heck you just read. If you are just starting blogging or have been at it for years, this is definitely worth reading!

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This book was gifted to me by the beautiful Bobbi. So, everyone ranted and raved about this book for aaaages and because of that, I took a mini stand and decided not to read it. What an idiot. I finished this book in a couple of hours. And boy, did I cry. I'm a cryer by nature though so I don't know if that's really a point of reference. It was beautifully written and touched on some really important issues. This is one of those rainy Sunday books. I really do think you'll need some tissues though.
 
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (still going) 

So, in honour of the movie, I decided to have a crack at the book. And boy is it long... I am still chipping away at this bad boy, slowly but surely. It's on the back-burner right now but I'll try to keep going. Have you read Les Mis? How did you get through it?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Also in honour of this movie, I thought it was time to read the book. I didn't love it, I won't lie. It was okay. I still haven't seen the movie, so I can't make a comparison between the two. Chbosky has an interesting writing style and at times, I found myself zoning out. I don't think I would necessarily recommend the book, but each to their own. If you read it, or have read it, let me know what you thought. 

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (still going)

This was recommended to me by Justin's parents. I was hesitant at first but I think it's going to be really good. I love anything to do with Henry VIII and this (fictional) book details Thomas Cromwell's rise to power in Henry's court (he was one of this right hand men!) I'm quite excited about finishing this one, so I imagine I'll do a complete post on it when I finish :-)

and the creme da la creme...

Worth Every Penny by Sarah Petty and Erin Verbeck

This book was my absolute favourite! If you are a small business owner, or just interested in all things business, you have to read this book. It is absolutely packed with super valuable information and advice, particularly in regards to branding. I learned so much from this book and I agreed with so much of what they were saying, stuff that I had always thought existed mostly in my head. A massive thumbs up for this easy to read and incredibly helpful book.

So there you have it, my holiday reading list. I hope this helps you find your next 'must-read' book. If you've read any of these books, I'd love to hear what you have to say on them! 

Monday, 18 February 2013

CONNECTING THE DOTS #3

I have had such a blessed week! I have been on such a roll, getting inspired and learning so much stuff. 

Last week I bit the bullet and bought this camera and I am so glad I did. I feel like it's key to me being on a happier, more successful path. No more excuses and no more negativity. I feel like a little sponge at the moment - I'm just going around, trying to absorb as much knowledge as possible and using it to construct the life that I want.

I also attended a kitchen tea party for a friend of mine who is getting married. We had great fun with some props and a lot of tea!


The bride-to-be and her maid-of-honour!

I hope everyone else had a great week too, and if you didn't, I challenge you this week to learn something that you've been putting off for whatever reason! Do it and be proud of it, and share what you learn!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

THAT TIME OUR BAG GOT STOLEN.

the relevance of this photo will become clear the more you read.

I thought it was high time I shared with you all how amazing I truly am. In case there was any shred of doubt left in your mind, I feel confident that this post will shock and amaze you, and challenge you to always ask,
What Would Jasmine Do?

Let us begin. It was a cold, nippy morning in the rough town of Brussels, Belgium. After stumbling sideways out of a van that had been flying down a Belgian freeway at the lovely pace of 140km/h for far too long (clue #1), I wheeled my suitcase into the entrance of Brussels train station. On our way into the building, as I was vehemently expressing my rage and disgust at such poor driving, I noticed a lovely and charming gentleman relieving himself just by the door.

This, my friends, should've have been clue #2 that today, was not my day.

After checking the departure times, we decided to park ourselves in a cafe. We had to walk for miles inside the train station and sit in a cafe located directly outside of the toilets.

Which, by the way, had a whole lot of unflushed business just chilling in bowls. Can I just say, I really despise people who do that. If there is any doubt in your mind as to the likelihood that what you have just deposited will actually flush in one go (seriously, who are you), it is NOT hard to stand around and wait to see if a double flush is required. Clue #3.

Upon returning to the table, at which I was now in the company of lover boy and his mumma (his papa having left us to try his hand at the bathroom situation), I began my usual vigilant area surveillance. Some attribute this to a mild case of OCD, others (mainly me when I stand in the mirror) applaud my over-cautiousness. 

I identified a potential threat. The man sitting next to us looked highly suspicious. SEE PHOTO ABOVE. Now, I will be the first to admit that I regret making this judgement call. He had scruffy hair, scruffy clothes, was alone and was staring into the distance, rather menacingly. As an attractive and somewhat vulnerable young lady, I wisely made Justin sit on the side closest to him, all whilst keeping a keen eye on him. 

Then, he stood up and checked his bags, which were placed behind us. I was feeling a little uncomfortable at this stage. And then, he leaned over and spoke to us.

I had no idea what he said but when he repeated himself, I realised rather quickly that things were not working out for us today. He said, and I quote, 

Someone just took your bag.
So I wheel around and sure enough, Justin's backpack is missing. Justin's backpack is in fact my North Face bag (let's just say, that bad boy wasn't cheap) and inside of this backpack is his iPad and my laptop.

Oh hell no, I don't like it when people use my stuff after I've given them permission, let alone stealing my stuff without even asking. So, of course, I do what any normal person does. 

I dump my handbag with Justin's mum, give her clear and somewhat firm directions to STAY PUT AND MIND THE BAGS! and then Justin and I take off running.

We are flying through this train station and I am flicking my head left and right, attempting to search the cafes we pass in the hopes that whoever it was ducked into there with the bag and was trying to blend in. We run past one exit and I spot a man, with a black backpack, rounding the side of a bus.

This is the bit that you'll think I'm truly amazing for. Without my goggles, everything past a metre or two away from my face is blurry. I'm not blind, per se, but details are lost on me. Now, I'm running pretty fast and this guy would've been 20 or so odd metres away, and I thought I recognised my bag. It's a plain black backpack... I know, I know; amazing right?

So I pivot on the spot and run out the doors, Justin hot on my tail. Justin yells out HEY! and I'm still running, almost on this guy's tail, and he spins, sees us, drops the bag and takes off. 

Everything was still in the bag and the only casualty was my little laptop that hit the ground when he dropped it. It has a big crack on one side but it seems to work just fine.

The important part of this story is, don't take my stuff because I get really mad and I will hunt you down. The proof is in the pudding.

The other important part of this story is that Justin's Dad missed the whole thing. 

So, what did you guys learn today? Always ask yourself What Would Jasmine Do? and then maybe do the opposite because that was a really dangerous and somewhat scary situation.
The End.

Monday, 11 February 2013

CONNECTING THE DOTS #2

Life is getting somewhat back to normal now. My to-do list seriously never ends but I am chipping away at it *pat on the back for me*. 

Last week I ate too much, ran too little and watched the appropriate amount of YouTube videos I'd say.

* I spent time with my nephew. Who apparently grew a metre whilst we were away. My knowledge of the ways of small people is very little and apparently, they grow. 

* I tried in vain to find a casual job in the area Justin and I are looking to move to, aaaaand nothing. No one is hiring or they want "500 years worth of experience in accounting". I'm sorry but that person does not exist and thus you should pick me. Alternatively, if anyone out there wants to do some online business with me, *aggressive winking and thumbs-upping right now* holler at me. I'm heaps keen to actually be self-employed, I just lack a necessary skill... Somebody point me in the right direction please.

* I'm a bit obsessed with this website - their Twitter makes me so happy and I literally click every link they share.

* Mila Kunis. Serious girl crushing happening over here. Yes, I am only just getting on that band wagon. Better late than never. But when she owns an interviewer in Justin Timberlake's honour?! I'm sorry, but I really do love her.

* I've begun to eye off dresses for my engagement party! It's coming up soon! Any suggestions?

Hope your week has been wonderful! 

P.S - How amazing is Homeland? Anyone else watching it/watched it??

Saturday, 9 February 2013

GUEST POST: MICHAELA'S BEAUTY MUST-HAVES!

This year I want to do a guest post every month so that you guys can get introduced to some lovely ladies and to learn something that I would be too scared to write about! Michaela was the one who got me into blogging and I often turn to her YouTube channel (and of course her blog!) for reviews on beauty products. I hope you guys enjoy this post and show her some love!

Hey! I'm Michaela, and I write a fashion/beauty/lifestyle blog over at "Where is my mind?" Yep, took that name straight from the Pixie's song.

I'm really excited (and flattered!) that Jasmine asked me to guest post for her today, and share with you guys my must-have beauty items.

When I was thinking about what to include on this list, I decided to choose products that are easy to use and get inspiration from if you're new to this whole warpaint make-up thing. 


Mascara
Mascara is very much a personal decision a girl has to make. Everyone has their own lash ‘issues’, so the first step in choosing the mascara that’s right for you is to identify what your ‘issue’ is and how you’d like to correct it. Personally, my lashes are blonde and thin so when I look for mascara I search for terms such as “volumising” and “blackest black”. I absolutely adore the ‘volume express’ range from Maybelline and swear by their mascaras in the photo above. Another thing to consider is whether you have oily eyelids or cry a lot, in which case you might want a waterproof mascara.

Eye Shadows
This is such a broad territory to cover. If you’re new to make-up, I cannot recommend Stila’s ‘In the Light’ palette enough. The colours are neutral enough to wear on a day to day basis, with plenty of darker colours for a night out. The reason why I recommend this palette over all others for beginners is because it contains a 6-look guide! It tells you exactly how to apply the colours and where, which can be really helpful if you’re easily overwhelmed by too many choices.

Eye Brush Set
The first set of eye brushes I ever bought was the Ecotools eye starter set from Priceline, about 5 years ago. The brushes are still going strong, and I still love them to bits. These are a great starter set for someone new to applying eyeshadow because on the base they state what the brush is for (highlight, crease, blend, etc). Once you have familiarised yourself with them you can branch out and experiment by buying single brushes or using them differently. Better still, the brushes are completely eco-friendly! Keeping you, and the world beautiful!


Blush
Blush is another one of those scary make-up products that newbies are usually scared of. ‘But I don’t wanna look like a clown!!’ I hear you cry. After you even out your skintone with foundation, your face can end up looking a bit ‘flat’ – blush helps to bring some dimension back, and draw attention to your eyes and cheekbones. This NARS blush in Deep Throat is a really nice pink which suits almost every skintone.

Sunscreen
Jasmine once told me she’s only applied sunscreen very few times in her life. Cue my shock and horror. As a ghost lady with fair complexion, sunscreen is really important to me. Apart from preventing melanomas, it also helps to prevent ageing. I love this Neutrogena Ultra Sheer sunscreen (now in SPF 50+ as well for you hardcore sun-avoiders) and apply it all over my face and d├ęcolletage after washing my face in the morning. Here’s a secret that might shock you; even if your foundation or BB cream or tinted moisturiser says it contains SPF, it’s very unlikely you apply enough of the product to make any difference at all. Don’t skimp on the sunscreen!

Face Mask
This face masque by Sukin is an absolute, holy grail item for me. Made from red clay this stuff sucks all of the gunk out of your pores, leaving them fresh and clean. Not only is this a great way to relax after a busy week, but your skin will appreciate the deep cleanse. Added bonus: Sukin is an Aussie company, vegan friendly and their products contain no harsh chemicals (no parabens, no sulphates, etc etc)

Hand Cream
They say the true way to tell a woman’s age is by looking at her hands. I’m prepared to stay young forever, and I use hand creams to help me out in my quest. This Shea Butter formula from Palmer’s is a great product to own; if you’re prone to scaly elbows and knees this is great for there too, as well as for the scaly-ness you get under your nose when you have a cold.


Lip Balms and Stains and Butters oh my!
Lip products are probably my favourite of all the beauty products out there. I’m sure there is something Freud would say about that. Anyway, you must have a lip balm in your collection. I personally love Maybelline’s Baby Lips, Burt’s Bees lip balms (really protective as well as moisturising) and of course, my trusty blue Blistex (perfect for sunburnt lips). Revlon have also done amazingly well in the lip product department lately, bringing out both their lip butters and balm stains. The lip butters are the perfect mix between lipstick and lipbalm so if you’re a bit nervous about venturing into the realm of coloured lips these are perfect. The lip stains are also great for newbies – they provide colour without you needing to worry about re-applying every few hours. Unlike traditional lip stains, these won’t dry your lips out.

So there you have it! My top beauty must haves! Thanks again so much to Jasmine for letting me steal her readers for a while. :-)

I really appreciate Michaela doing a swap post with me. I wrote a little something for her blog as well, so check it out! If you want more of Michaela, and I don't see why you wouldn't, you can find her lurking on Twitter and sharing her videos on YouTube.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

CONNECTING THE DOTS #1

This post was supposed to go up on Monday. Except jet lag took over and I fell asleep really early and woke up at 3am Tuesday morning... So let's just pretend it's Monday :-)


So my goal for this year for this blog was to create a more regular posting schedule. On Monday's in 2012 I started a series called Weekly Round-Up. I really enjoyed doing these and this series is exactly the same, except I changed the name. I know, it's seriously overwhelming.

These past few days I've been trying to recover from all of the flying we did. My sleeping schedule is so out of whack at the moment and because of that, everything else is suffering. My eating patterns are crazy and my skin is freaking out. To make matters worse, first day back at the gym yesterday and it took me all of 5 minutes to realise that I am so unfit. Hopefully this week I can get everything back on track. 

Because we've only been back in the country for a few days, I haven't done anything. That's changing today though because I think I need to clean out my wardrobe - uh oh... So I thought I'd put together a little list of things I want to buy to help me get back on track! If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them :-)
Kikki K Leather Shoulder Bag

I generally love everything that comes out of Kikki K and this bag is no exception. I love genuine leather products and this bag seems so perfect in terms of shape, size and design. Having the perfect bag helps me stay on track because it means that I can find everything that I need and I feel good carrying it.

Canon 550d

So technically this wouldn't necessarily help me stay on track but lately I've been feeling a real desire to get myself another DSLR and unleash my creative juices (you're welcome). Whilst I love my little point and shoot and would not swap it for the world, I feel like it's time that I have both options available to me. I've done a lot of research and think this is the perfect camera for where I'm at right now. It would also allow me to grow creatively and perhaps open doors for me on the path I want to be on.

Fisher Infinium Space Pen

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So, this pen is crazy expensive. It's also crazy beautiful! I love great stationery and the first thing that I like to do when I'm attempting to work through a problem is to make a to-do list. Obviously my list is much more useful (and pretty!) if I have a nice pen and nice paper. Also, you can see Sweden on this map. I think it was meant to be.

What are your tips for getting back on track?

Sunday, 3 February 2013

HOME.

After 30 hours of travelling, really bad plane food and some seriously swollen feet, we are home. 

Sleeping in your own bed is easily the best feeling in the world. Not that I slept much last night at all thanks to the wonderful concept of jet lag, but it's the thought that counts. Driving my car and cuddling Justin's dog tied for second place on my list of 'Things I Missed a Lot'.

I am so excited that February has begun. I have huge plans for Curlicue this year. Whilst we were away I did some serious thinking and made some big decisions on where this year is going for me. Starting tomorrow, you will see some great content around here that I really hope you enjoy. 

Also starting tomorrow I am hitting the gym hard and attempting to tackle my ridiculously long to-do list.

My holiday was a blessing and the most amazing experience, but it is time to get back to reality. Let's just hope that reality can be just as amazing!
This photo sums up perfectly our time in Sweden and how I feel about this year!