USA Vacation: Where I'm Staying

31 Jan 2015

I leave tomorrow (Feb 1st) on my month long vacation with Josh to the USA! I'm so excited and it's come around so so fast. I probably (unfortunately) won't be as active on here during February, (I'll be too busy having the time of my life!) But I will definitely (hopefully) be able to spare some time for a few posts.

I thought I would start off by doing a post on all the places that we will be travelling to and staying during the month, check them out! Also I would love any tips from locals or past travellers on places to visit/dine & shop!

The Hotel Hollywood


Probably the least pretty accommodation that we have booked but the most affordable. We picked The Hotel Hollywood for it's prime position and easy access. As well as it's incredibly welcoming price. We will only be here 3 nights, the least out of every place that we go to. Our dream may have been to stay in the Ace Hotel, but our bank accounts wouldn't exactly suffice. We'd rather save that extra money for activities anyway!

Juniper Springs Resort


Probably our most expensive accommodation and arguably the prettiest, located far East of Los Angeles lies Mammoth Lakes, and this beautiful resort. I am super super excited about this place, mostly because I haven't been skiing in years and I love to ski, but also because this place looks amazing. We have a studio apartment with gas fireplace on the snow, and I just can't wait! 

Cole Valley Apartment
I have never used AirBnb Before but off many positive reviews from friends we decided to give it a go. Well we decided to give it a go three times actually! San Francisco is our first of 3 AirBnb locations. I absolutely love the look of the place and cannot wait to visit!

Modern Basement Studio

From what I can tell on that map screenshot, we will be staying right in the centre of everything in Portland which is fantastic. I'm still not very knowledgeable on Portland, though I'm very keen to explore it! I'll be here on Valentines Day too. :)

Lower East Side Studio

New York City. The final stop in our awesome adventure. We're staying in the Lower East Side. This was a tough one as there were so many great areas and apartments to choose from but hopefully we made the right decision. This studio is a tad more vintage than some of the others but certainly has a whole lot of charm. 

If you haven't noticed by my excessive use of exclamation marks, and how many times I have literally stated it, I AM SO EXCITED! 12 hours til I board my plane and set off for America! 
Woo hoo! 
Cya Australia! xx

A Quick Review: Wild

28 Jan 2015

So on Saturday Night I went to the dinner & the cinema, kind of a casual double date, (we went to Grill'd) and saw the film Wild. This wasn't a movie that I had heard much about, apart from reading a brief interview with main star Reese Witherspoon. And to be honest, it didn't really interest me that much, in terms of the types and genres of movies that I usually tend to see. I'm not one for dramas. Even though I am an avid moviegoer.

Wild is a film based on the nonfiction book about a woman, Cheryl Strayed [Witherspoon], who realises with great anguish that her life has no value. So she takes a 90 day hike through the Pacific Crest Trail on a journey of self discovery. A film riddled with flashbacks, we discover throughout the film what drove Cheryl to take this hike alone in the first place.

I was pleasantly surprised that a film that is one person walking through the woods, still contains a lot of depth and story. While not my general cup of the tea the movie is well filmed, with Witherspoon doing a brilliant job of portraying the protagonist.

Real life Cheryl Strayed was incredibly pleased with how the book was brought to the silver screen, saying that "Every time I see it I get chills." Well Witherspoon must have done a good job, as she's already been nominated for an Academy Award for her role.

Illamasqua Essential Brush Set Review

25 Jan 2015

I recently participated in ASOS' Christmas Instagram competition and was lucky enough to win the Illamasqua Essential Brush Set. I was super excited as I have never owned such a beautiful and good quality set of makeup brushes before. The brushes come in a faux leather travel case, are hypoallergenic and made of synthetic hairs. Because Illamasqua is super animal friendly, Which is definitely something that I care about.

The set comes with 5 essential brushes.

Angled Brush

The Angled Brush is wonderful for creating defined and precise lines. Can be used for multiple things such as shaping the foundation around your lips, or defining your eyeline. I'll most likely be using mine as a brow filler tool, all I need now is some sweet brow powder. Guess my brow magic pencil will have to do for now.

Lip Brush

A rounded edge flat lip brush that is ideal for applying lipstick. It is inspiring me to purchase more now that I have such a good application tool. I would love a good taupe lippy.

Highlighter Brush

This Highlighter Brush is exactly the type of brush I need to perfect my contouring skills. Writing this post has made me realise there are quite a few makeup supplies that I wish to purchase. (watch out Sephora) This versatile brush can also be used to apply liquid and powder foundation! Nifty!

Eyeshadow Brush

Most eyeshadow palettes that I seem to purchase come with the incredibly crap weird double ended foam eyeshadow applicators. For some reason someone many years ago decided that they were good for eyeshadow. They were incredibly wrong. They're terrible. This eyeshadow brush on the other hand is perfect, soft on your eyelids, and is good at holding the eyeshadow as you transfer it to your lids. Can be used with both cream and powder textured eyeshadows.

Blending Brush

I find Blending Brushes are something you don't realise you need until you're following some sweet eyeshadow tutorial, and it requires you to blend all the colours in so that they are perfect and you only have your eyeshadow brush and you're just mushing around crazily. Yes well this is where the blending brush comes in. Soft circles over your makeup is enough to blend the colours wonderfully without removing it all.

I love all of these brushes! There is no doubt they will become an essential part of my daily routine. But I probably would never have bought them myself because of the price. Which then I would have greatly missed out on these top quality brushes! This won't be the last I try of Illamasqua.

Cya! xx

7 Things I Learnt Working in Retail

22 Jan 2015

I've now worked in retail or just general customer service style jobs for about 4 years.  That's long enough to have definitely seen my fair share and variety of customers. Contrary to everything that I'm going to say here, there are 10 nice customers to every nasty one. And that's what makes it worth it in the end. All the nice folks who just want to chat, and purchase their product, whether it's an ice cream, a tour, a shirt, or a plant.

Here are __ things I have learnt over time working and serving customers. The good, bad and the ugly.

You are a soulless entity, that is either standing in the way of what they want, or helping them get it. They will insult you, and try to make it personal. They don't care if you've had a bad day, or you're tired or sick. And in a way, why should they? It's your job after all. They will insult you and make it personal, especially in situations that are not your fault. I have been yelled at and abused because of things like "No sorry the fireworks aren't on every night, only on Christmas Eve & New Years Eve."
How dare I? And they drove all that way? My manager has been spat on because we closed an outdoor night time tour because of an electrical storm. Not only was it not our call, but it was for your own safety! Obviously.

No but I used the google and on your website it said this. Hmm no it didn't. The website said you closed at 7pm but that announcement said you close at 6pm! I personally am terribly sorry and I will see about getting that website fixed for you. I know you have it in stock it was on your website, no that means nothing! The internet is only sort of magic, not that kind of magic. They will swear on their grave that they are right, even if halfway through they realise they are wrong, they will not give up. I promise you. 

So you bought this shirt the other day and wow it looks like you've worn it for 3 months straight without washing it! Oh so you bought it like that? Well that is just terrible, But I really don't think that we would have sold a shirt in this condition. No no I'm not calling you a liar, do you have a receipt? Oh you never got one, well I am just so sorry about that let me just see what I can do.

That situation above is exactly what happens, and all too often. They're so clearly lying, I have even had someone change their story multiple times throughout the explanation on why this brand new item has an enormous hole in it. It always ends the same way, you give them what they want. You want a refund for this item you bought 1 year ago, even though our refund policy is 2 weeks? Here's the scoop, even if I say no, and I ask my manager and she says no and she asks her regional manager and they also say no. If the customer rings up the head office and freaks out, guess what they're going to get that refund.

Have you ever went to buy something you swear was $5 and it scanned in as $10. Wait a minute I don't think that's right, you say something to the shop person, they check for you, and it is indeed $10, you were wrong. You apologise and it was your mistake after all. You buy it (or not) and go on your merry way. Ehh if you are a nice and reasonable person. If you're a jerk you freak out, you raise your voice, call me out on trying to rip you off. It's preposterous! You shout, you flail, you have a public meltdown. And I change the price for you. You absolute monster. Some people then calm down a little and thank the shop person, others stay agitated and self entitled with a "Yeah that's right you better change that price!" kind of attitude. We hate you.

You bet they do. The first time I caught a shoplifter I lifted the beanies out of their bag which is a big no no, but I panicked. When doing a bag check you can't touch anything, not the bag, not anything inside it. You can only ask them to show you, and to move their items around to attempt to show the more of the bag. In my clothing store job most of our regular shoplifters are 15 year old brats who flog sunglasses and hats and socks. Shoving them into their backpacks. The adults that steal things, now they're the tough cookies. They will scream and carry on, how dare you accuse them. When I call security, there's literally nothing I can do to stop the person running away.  A coworker of mine spotted a kid just holding a pair of stolen pants in the food court, and she asked him to hand them over and he said nope, what are you gonna do about it.

Lovely old couples, people that just want a chat, people that roll their eyes and sympathise with you about that mean customer that just left. These few good souls restore your faith in humanity. Not everyone is crap. Elderly men who hobble out of the store and say "Hoo Roo" (old people talk for cya) People that compliment you, the regulars, your few favourites that always have a good chat. I've even said hello to people outside of work that I've served quite a few times. Even after a long day, with mean people and crowds, fighting each other over that last size shoe in their size. The nice people still make it worth it.

Courtyard Deck - Before + After

19 Jan 2015

Our new home has a cute little courtyard out the back of it. Which is a perfect spot for entertaining, especially as the back doors to the house open all the way up allowing for open living. Originally the courtyard was covered in cream pavers, but they were getting a bit gross by now, with moss and mould growing in between them.

Josh's parents and the previous tenants, (his sister & her partner) had been planning to put a deck out the back for quite a while but it has only just been installed recently.

It only took 2 days to get completed by someone that we hired. The tradesman had done the neighbours outdoor deck as well at an earlier date, so we already had some idea on what it would look like, and know that he did a good job!

The decking was done with all natural timber, and it looked quite white and bright and opened up the space a lot. The final step was getting the natural timber oil and coating the deck. (twice) The colour they went with was a natural stain, so as you can see below the timber just looks wet I suppose.

Can you spot my lovely dining chairs?
I'm super happy with the way the deck turned out! The colour is quite nice and it makes the space a lot more usable. Eventually we will be decorating the courtyard a tad with some outdoor furniture and plants. We are holding off on live plants until we return for our vacation for now!

Thanks for visiting! xx

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